Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Thomas Donaldson, 9 June 1889

Date: June 9, 1889

Whitman Archive ID: med.00875

Source: The location of this manuscript is unknown. Edwin Haviland Miller derives his transcription from a typescript supplied by Paul J. Eisel. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 4:348. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Blake Bronson-Bartlett, Alex Ashland, Ryan Furlong, and Stephanie Blalock

328 Mickle Street
Camden N.J.
June 9 '891

Dear Tom

That cheque for me from Irving2—is it for me personally—if so, send it over to me, as I am in want of money.3

I am ab't as usual—

Walt Whitman

Thomas Donaldson (1843–1898) was a lawyer from Philadelphia and a friend of Whitman. He introduced Whitman to Bram Stoker and later accompanied Stoker when he visited the poet; he also organized a fund-raising drive to buy Whitman a horse and carriage. He authored a biography of Whitman titled Walt Whitman, the Man (1896). For more information about Donaldson, see Steven Schroeder, "Donaldson, Thomas (1843–1898)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


1. This letter is addressed: Thomas Donaldson | 326 N. 40th Street | Philadelphia. It is postmarked: Camden, N.J. | Jun 9 | 1889 | 5 PM. [back]

2. Sir Henry Irving (1838–1905), born John Henry Brodribb, was a well-known British stage actor and inspiration for Bram Stoker's Dracula. Both Stoker (1847–1912) and Irving visited Whitman in Camden in 1884, where the actor and Whitman talked "a good while and seemed to take to each other mightily" (Thomas Donaldson, Walt Whitman the Man [New York: Francis P. Harper, 1896], 55). [back]

3. Henry Irving and Bram Stoker sent gifts of $50 and $25, respectively, to Whitman through Donaldson; see Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Friday, June 7, 1889. Donaldson informed Whitman on September 15, 1889, that he had deposited the sum and would bring a check to Camden. Whitman received the money on October 1, 1889 (The Commonplace-Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.), and sent receipts to Donaldson through Wilkins on October 16, 1889 (Thomas Donaldson, Walt Whitman the Man [New York: Francis P. Harper, 1896], 98). [back]


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