Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Harry Stafford, 31 October [1880]

Date: October 31, 1880

Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00416

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, 1964), 3:191–192. 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, Anthony Dreesen, Grace Thomas, Kevin McMullen, and Nicole Gray

431 Stevens street
Sunday noon Oct 31

Dear Hank

I have just written a postal to your folks to say I wouldn't be down till Saturday afternoon (Ashland Station) & I thought I would write you a line—Every thing goes well with me these times considering—health & feelings better since I come back from Canada than for nine years past—(one of the ferry men told me he heard a lady say to another on the boat yesterday as I went off, "He looks older & savager than ever, dont he? but there is a something—I dont wonder that Aleck is all taken up with him" &c &c—Aleck, the ferry man thought, was her husband)—

I am selling quite a good many of my books now1—gives me something to do every day—so you see I have enough to put me in quite a good humor. Then upon going to look where I had my bound books boxed & stored away, up in the garret at Mr. Scovel's, (I hadn't been to look after them in three years)—I found them not only in good condition but found I had twice as many as I calculated—yesterday I had the express man to bring two boxes of 'em home, & left three boxes there still. I got a letter from the PM General, Canada2—the missing letter not there—I am convinced it came to Haddonfield—

2.40 afternoon

I have just had my dinner & am up here in my third story room finishing this—it is a bright sunny day here, after the three days' storm—I have been alone all day, but busy & contented—my room is just right for all the year except the very hottest months—the sun pours in here so nice, especially afternoons—I wish you was here to-day, Hank (I havn't got any wine though)—I see Hoag3 yesterday, & Seigfried too—every body is flying around—Election excitement now, very hot. Sports, newspaper men, & politicians busy as the devil in a gale of wind—Love to you, dear son—I shall be down Saturday4

Your old Walt


1. The records of book sales in Whitman's Commonplace Book are numerous at this time (Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). [back]

2. Whitman had written to the Postmaster General at Ottawa, Canada, about October 13 (Whitman's Commonplace Book). [back]

3. F. A. Hoag was a young reporter who died on June 17, 1890, at age thirty-five. [back]

4. Whitman was at Glendale from November 6, Saturday, to November 16, 1880 (Whitman's Commonplace Book). [back]


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