Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to William D. O'Connor, [3 May 1882]

Date: May 3, 1882

Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00436

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), 3:275. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Stefan Schoeberlein, Nima Najafi Kianfar, Eder Jaramillo, and Nicole Gray

forward all this budget1—keep together in envelope (A to L inclusive) after reading digesting &c. (no hurry however) to

Dr Bucke
London Ontario Canada
—who will be expecting them—2


1. This letter is endorsed: "Forward all this budget 'A to L inclusive' to Dr. Bucke." It is addressed: Wm D O'Connor | Life Saving Service | Bureau | Washington D C. It is postmarked: Camden | May | 3 | 12 M | N.J.; Washington, D. C. | May | 4 | 4 AM | 1882 | Recd. [back]

2. It is unfortunate that Whitman's correspondence with Richard Maurice Bucke at this time is lost, for it would presumably reveal that after the poet informed Bucke of Osgood's decision on April 19, the latter suggested that O'Connor be enlisted to reply to the charges of obscenity. Since the poet and O'Connor had been estranged for ten years, Bucke undoubtedly wrote to O'Connor to obtain his consent. Probably Whitman discussed the matter frankly in a "long letter" to Bucke on April 27 (Whitman's Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). At any rate their correspondence resumed without mention of their misunderstanding. Jottings in Whitman's Commonplace Book suggest that Whitman had attempted to heal the wounds for many years. He sent to O'Connor the following books and articles: Memoranda During the War in April, 1876; the Centennial Edition in March, 1879; his Emerson article in The Literary World in May, 1880; "Poetry of the Future" in December, 1880; The Progress of April 30, 1881; The Critic of May 9, 1881; the New York Tribune of August 4, 1881; and the Osgood edition on December 25, 1881. [back]


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