Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to John Burroughs, 13 March [1877]

Date: March 13, 1877

Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00404

Source: The Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 3:79–80. 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, Grace Thomas, Eder Jaramillo, Kevin McMullen, and Kenneth Price

113 east 10th Street | N Y City—1
March 13

Dear friend

Yours of yesterday rec'd—Shall be very glad to go up with you Friday for a couple of days or so2—Should like to fetch my boy Harry Stafford with me, as he is my convoy like—We occupy the same room & bed—

We had another reception here last night—very successful—lots of artists, many fine ladies & not a few ministers & journalists—I am feeling pretty well, but can't stand these things long—Dull half rainy day here—have been in all day—sitting muchly for my picture3—which gets on well—

'Sula, love to you—

I wrote you a Postal Card yesterday but believe (although I am not sure) that it got lost before it was mailed4


1. This letter bears the address: John Burroughs | Esopus-on-Hudson | New York. It is postmarked: New York | Mar 13 | 9 PM. [back]

2. Walt Whitman was at naturalist John Burroughs' home in Esopus from March 16 (Friday) to March 20, 1877. Burroughs noted the "great event" in his journal on March 21: "[Walt Whitman and Harry Stafford] cut up like two boys and annoyed me sometimes. Great tribulation in the kitchen in the morning. Can't get them up to breakfast in time. Walt takes Harry with him as a kind of foil or refuge from the intellectual bores" (Clara Barrus, Whitman and Burroughs—Comrades [Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1931], 164). [back]

3. According to the letter from Walt Whitman to John H. Johnston of 13 December 1876, Whitman had agreed to sit for a portrait by noted landscape painter G. W. Waters. Burroughs, understandably, was not fond of the painting: "It gives Walt's benevolent look, but not his power—his elemental look. It makes him look rather soft, like a sort of Benjamin Franklin" (Clara Barrus, Whitman and Burroughs—Comrades [Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1931], 164). The portrait appears as the frontispiece to the fifth volume of the Camden Edition. Waters' sketch also idealizes the poet (The Complete Writings of Walt Whitman, ed. Richard Bucke, Thomas Harned, Horace Traubel, Oscar Tiggs [New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1902], 1:202). [back]

4. This post card is not known. [back]


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