Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman, 21 February [1873]

Date: February 21, 1873

Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00309

Source: The Oscar Lion Papers, 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), 2:200. 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, Zachary King, and Eric Conrad

Friday afternoon
Feb. 21.

Dearest mother,

I am about the same to-day, rather on the improve—have not tried to get out any more—feel pretty much depressed about Mat's death,1 (but it has been to her no doubt a relief from great pain)—Have just written a few lines to Jeff2—Wrote yesterday to Han3—Mother, you must not get gloomy. Feel better as I write—I am sitting up by the stove.



1. Walt Whitman wrote of Martha's death in his February 20, 1873 letter to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman. [back]

2. The letter is apparently lost. [back]

3. Hannah Louisa (Whitman) Heyde (1823–1908), youngest sister of Walt Whitman, married Charles Louis Heyde (ca. 1820–1892), a Pennsylvania-born landscape painter. Charles Heyde was infamous among the Whitmans for his offensive letters and poor treatment of Hannah. Hannah and Charles Heyde lived in Burlington, Vermont. For more, see Paula K. Garrett, "Whitman (Heyde), Hannah Louisa (d. 1908)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]


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