Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to John R. Johnston, Jr., 18 February 1878

Date: February 18, 1878

Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00402

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 The Correspondence of Walt Whitman, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1964), 106–107. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Alicia Bones, Elizabeth Lorang, Grace Thomas, Anthony Dreesen, and Kevin McMullen

Kirkwood N J1
Monday evn'g Feb 18

Dear Jack2

I am down here for a few days—Came down last Saturday fore-noon—am with folks I love, & that love me—have had a real good old-fashion'd time, first-rate for me—It is a farm, every thing plain & plenty, & blazing wood fires—in the eating line, lots of chickens, eggs, fresh pork &c: (they kill a hog every two weeks)—

You ought to be here with me a day or so—(likely one day would be enough for you, as there is no city excitement or fashions—no sogering—no balls or theatres—but quite lots of gals, & some real nice ones)—I take an old man's liberty of kissing them all, (especially the handsome ones) when I go around where they are—as I have been coming down here off & on for nearly two years & have got acquainted—

I go out walking a good deal down a lane & by a beautiful pond & creek I am very fond of—spend two or three hours there first-rate, even this weather, all by myself—I am quite happy here for me—the weather was very fine for two days, but is a little cooler to-day—I can't walk far you know, but I go stumping about & enjoy it—yesterday they took me out on a long ride—went through the piney woods, which I always like—Jack, I thought you might like to get a line from me, from here—Every thing is so different from Market st or Chestnut or Penn st—but there is no difference in your loving old friend & comrade

Walt Whitman


1. The envelope for this letter bears the address: John R Johnston Jr | care of McCown & Co: | 623 Market Street | Philadelphia. It is postmarked: (?) | Feb | (?); Philad'a, Pa. | Feb | 19 | 7 PM. [back]

2. According to Whitman's notation on Jack Johnston's calling card, the young man was employed about this time by A. R. McCown & Co., a hosiery store in Philadelphia. Later he was employed by Ziegler & Swearingen, sellers of notions in Philadelphia (Whitman's Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). In Jack's autograph book, Whitman wrote in 1875: "In memory of the good times, Sunday evenings, in Penn street, 1875, '4, & '3." On January 18, 1880, he wrote again: "Good times, Sunday Evenings, continued, '76, '77, '78, '79, &c. W W" (Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). [back]


Published Works | In Whitman's Hand | Life & Letters | Commentary | Resources | Pictures & Sound

Support the Archive | About the Archive

Distributed under a Creative Commons License. Matt Cohen, Ed Folsom, & Kenneth M. Price, editors.