Life & Letters


About this Item

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

Date: September 3, 1882

Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00466

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), 3:303–304. 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

Sept 3—Evn'g

The T[ribune] & your Monday's letter came2—wonder if A[nthony] C[omstock] don't feel the Knout & the blood trickling—the reader almost does—Specimen Days is all in type & receiving the finishing touches—is to be on the market the 15th3—will send you the earliest copy I can get—two moist, hot, close, unhealthy days here—but as I write the breeze is beginning to spirt up, lively & cool—



1. This letter is endorsed: "Answ'd Sept 20." It is addressed: Wm D. O'Connor | Life Saving Service Bureau | Washington D C. It is postmarked: Camden | Sep | 3 | 6 PM | N.J.; Washington, D.C. | Sep | 4 | 4 AM | 1882 | Recd. [back]

2. On August 28 O'Connor informed Whitman that his reply to Comstock, "Mr. Comstock as Cato the Censor," had appeared in the New York Tribune on the preceding day. Only his opening sentence had been deleted: "Mr. Anthony Comstock's hostility to the nude—of which an illustrious instance was his famous prosecution of three unfortunate women, whom he had hired to dance before him for over an hour, without clothing, in a New York brothel—appears to extend to even the naked truth" (Clara Barrus, Whitman and Burroughs—Comrades [Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1931], 225). See also Walt Whitman Review, 5 (1959), 54–56. [back]

3. On September 26 Whitman wrote in his Commonplace Book: "'Specimen Days' done," but it was not distributed until October 1 (Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). [back]


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