Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Louisa Orr Whitman, 23 October [1881]

Date: October 23, 1881

Whitman Archive ID: mhs.00019

Source: Missouri Historical Society. Transcribed from digital images or a microfilm reproduction of the original item. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Notes for this letter were created by Whitman Archive staff and/or were derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller, 6 vols. (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), and supplemented or updated by Whitman Archive staff.

Contributors to digital file: Stefan Schoeberlein, Nima Najafi Kianfar, Eder Jaramillo, and Nicole Gray

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New York,
Sunday forenoon Oct 23 188

Dear Sister Lou

I am back here in New York, stopping for a couple of days at this hotel1—as Dr Bucke & his sister2 are here (she is in poor health, & they are here to consult a special physician)—we wanted to be together till Monday or Tuesday, when they start back for Canada—Then I shall go up & stay with Mr & Mrs Johnston3—so if you write (& I wish you would soon after getting this—have you seen Eddy?) direct to me Mott avenue & 149th street—Station L, New York City (same as before I went on to Boston)—I havn't heard from you all now in a fortnight—

I came on yesterday from Boston4—As I told you in my last every thing went on there satisfactory5—& my treatment from Osgood has been of the best—the prospect for the book (sales &c) seems to be fair—there are already quite a number of orders—it is all ready, & will be delivered & for sale 4th Nov.—There will come a box (or bundle) by express to me probably to-day or to-morrow from Osgood, contains some of the books—Lou dear you open & take one out for yourself, as I suppose you would like to see how it looks—leave the bundle tied up in the dark stout paper, as it contains only some MSS and stuff—also there may come a roll of printed matter for me, to be put up in my room—it will be directed to you "for W W"—(as any thing directed to me is liable to be forwarded here from Camden p o)—

I am well as usual—I shall stay here in N Y ten or twelve days & then home for a while6—Lou I expect to spend a good part of the winter up in London, as I quite like it, & they have great plenty of room, grub, servants & every thing—I am enjoying the day & time (Sunday forenoon) here at this big hotel—& it is a rouser, (as you will see by the picture)—Dr B. and the Sister have gone over to church to Brooklyn to hear Beecher7—& I have been & am having a good nice time sitting here by myself reading the Sunday Tribune, & writing this & one or two more letters—affectionately—

Brother Walt

—The books are for sale to any that want them—price $2—I will drop you a line a day or two before I come back


1. This letter was written on the stationery of the Grand Union Hotel, which was opposite the Grand Central Depot, between Forty-first and Forty-second Streets at Fourth Avenue. The stationery includes a drawing of the hotel at the top of the page. [back]

2. Matilda Gurd (Whitman's Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). [back]

3. Apparently Whitman changed his mind later in the day, since, according to Whitman's Commonplace Book, he was at the Johnstons' on October 24 and 25. [back]

4. During Whitman's last weeks in Boston, he had entertained himself to his own satisfaction. On October 11, accompanied by Sylvester Baxter, he attended a performance of Romeo and Juliet starring Ernesto Rossi, the Italian actor, who was on an American tour (Whitman's Commonplace Book). On October 15, he held open house at Mrs. Moffitt's boarding house for the pressmen and friends. According to the report, undoubtedly written by Whitman, in the Boston Daily Advertiser on October 17, there were three hundred visitors. See also the letter from Whitman to Ruth Stafford of October 25, 1881[back]

5. A reference to a missing letter written on October 4 (?) (Whitman's Commonplace Book). [back]

6. He returned to Camden on November 3 (Whitman's Commonplace Book). [back]

7. The celebrated Brooklyn clergyman, Henry Ward Beecher. [back]


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