Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Thomas Jefferson and Jessie Louisa Whitman, 8 September [1886]

Date: September 8, 1886

Whitman Archive ID: mhs.00023

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.

Contributors to digital file: Stefan Schöberlein and Kyle Barton

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Sept: 8

Dear Brother
& Dear Jess

Our hearts out here are with you more than you probably think at this gloomy time.1 I hope & trust you both bear up under it, & that the "God help us" of your telegraphic message will be fulfilled—I find myself better than toward the conclusion of former summers—am still living here at 328 Mickle st—& comfortable.

—I am anxious to hear whether Lou got there all right—am sitting here down stairs by the open window as I write—warm here for two days.

Walt Whitman

Thomas Jefferson Whitman (1833–1890), known as "Jeff," was Walt Whitman's favorite brother. As a civil engineer, Jeff eventually became Superintendent of Water Works in St. Louis and a nationally recognized figure. For more on Jeff, see Randall Waldron, "Whitman, Thomas Jefferson (1833–1890)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).

Jessie Louisa Whitman (1863–1957) was the second and youngest daughter of Whitman's brother Thomas Jefferson "Jeff" Whitman (1833–1890) and Jeff's wife Martha Mitchell Whitman (1836–1873).


1. Mannahatta (Hattie) Whitman, the poet's niece, died on September 3 and was buried three days later (Whitman's Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). George Whitman's wife Louisa went to St. Louis to be with Jeff and his other daughter, Jessie Louisa. [back]


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