Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to John Burroughs, 17 December [1875]

Date: December 17, 1875

Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00373

Source: The Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature, 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), 2:344–345. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Kenneth M. Price, Elizabeth Lorang, Kathryn Kruger, Zachary King, and Eric Conrad

431 Stevens st.
cor West.
N. Jersey.
Dec. 17

Dear John Burroughs,

I have been back here two weeks & over—My Washington jaunt occupied some seventeen or eighteen days, & was a very pleasant one for me—(started out with the idea of a two days visit only)—Am perhaps now lately not so well, but not much different—the gravest trouble is the liver and stomachic business now—Still I keep up about the same, (& get mad at myself for grunting)—Your letter of two days since rec'd. Best love to 'Sula, & to Jenny Grant if there—

My new edition is nearly ready—Two Vols—will give you early advice of their appearance—only 100 copies issued—Is the Winter Sunshine out?1 Eldridge call'd to see me on his return home two weeks since. Marvin has gone to England, with a Treas[ury] squad.2 He has call'd on Mrs. Gilchrist. M. D. Conway3 called on me. Lord Houghton4 also.

We have great times in this house—a baby has arrived,5 a fine lusty little fellow, now five weeks old—(he has been named Walt)—just now though he is quite sick, but I opine will get along—The rest all very well, except that my sister, the mother, is part of the time only middling. I hear young Walt raising his song, in the room overhead as I conclude my letter—

Love to you, as always, my friend—


1. Winter Sunshine appeared in December 1875 or January 1876. [back]

2. In his October 19, 1875 letter to Abby Gilchrist, Whitman wrote to introduce Gilchrist to Joseph Marvin. [back]

3. Moncure D. Conway published "A Visit to Walt Whitman" in The Academy, 8 (November 27, 1875), 554. (The New York Tribune noted Conway's article on December 9, 1875.) At the same time he informed William Michael Rossetti that "Walt is not in need"; see Letters of William Michael Rossetti, ed. Gohdes and Baum (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1934), 98. At this time Gilchrist and Rossetti were contemplating purchasing Walt Whitman's new volumes and presenting them to libraries; see Letters, 95. [back]

4. Richard Monckton Milnes (1809–1885), Lord Houghton, was an intimate of Tennyson and Thackeray as well as a poet. He was a collector of famous people; in Dictionary of National Biography he is characterized as "eminently a dilettante." Houghton wrote to Joaquin Miller on September 1, 1875, from Chicago: "Please give my best regards to Mr Whitman." On September 5, 1875, Miller informed Whitman that he was trying to arrange a meeting with Lord Houghton. Houghton himself wrote to Walt Whitman on September 27, 1875 and proposed a visit at the end of October or early in November, and on November 3, 1875, he asked whether November 6 would be convenient. These letters are in the Charles E. Feinberg Collection; see also Horace Traubel, ed., With Walt Whitman in Camden (1906–1964), 1:360, 364; 2:310; Horace L. Traubel, Richard Maurice Bucke, and Thomas B. Harned, ed., In Re Walt Whitman (1893), 36; and Harold Blodgett, Walt Whitman in England (1934), 141–143. [back]

5. Walter Orr Whitman, born November 4, 1875, died in the following year. [back]


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