Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman, 12 June 1866

Date: June 12, 1866

Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00208

Source: Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection, New York Public Library. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 1:277-278. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, Brett Barney, Vanessa Steinroetter, and Alyssa Olson

June 12, 1866.

Dearest mother,

I rec'd your letter of last Thursday—I suppose you got one from me the Saturday before, with some envelopes in, & $1—Well, mother, you have got a letter from that good for nothing pup again1—it is too bad to be worried so—but one is powerless to do any thing, under present circumstances—I hope George will do well, in the houses, if he & the others put them up on Portland av.—I see there are cases of cholera once in a while in New York—you must all be careful of yourselves—it is very healthy here this summer—I havn't been troubled by the heat yet—my head is much better—

Mother, I must tell you I am having some new shirts made—quite an event—I can't hardly believe it when I think how those old ones you fixed, & fixed again, have held out—but, poor old things, they have got played out pretty well—why I believe I have got one or two that you fixed for me when I went to Boston there six years ago, & more—I have 'em made in the same way as ever, & I think they are going to be very good—I expect to have half a dozen—so you see I am coming out—had quite a clearing out the other day, collected all my old tattered duds & socks, & boots & slippers &c &c. into a great heap—and when Sally, our black girl, brought up my breakfast, I told her she could have 'em all, if she wanted 'em—she was most tickled to death—took 'em all off home—there was nothing but what was all give out, though—

There is nothing new with me in my affairs—if things would only work so that I could get a higher grade, with more pay, it would come very acceptable—but here I remain, in the same way as at first—however I am very glad to have what I have—Tell Jeff2 I should like to see him very much—I think he would find it pleasant to come here for a few days, even this season—Well, dear mother, my sheet is full—love to all—



1. Louisa Van Velsor Whitman informed Walt on June 7, 1866, that she had sent "a short note to the honorable mr Heyde as i received a veery lengthy epistle from him the other day. i really think the world never produced such another man or devil. i think he is nearest the last named. i wrote very short with no compliment that i was not surprised at his wishing to get rid of han, that he had expressed that wish many times before this letter" (Trent Collection of Whitmaniana, Duke University Rare Books, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library). In a letter to Whitman in April 1866, Heyde had accused Mrs. Whitman of fomenting trouble between him and his wife.  [back]

2. Thomas Jefferson "Jeff" Whitman (1833-1890), Walt's brother. [back]


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