Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to William D. O'Connor, 27 December 1882

Date: December 27, 1882

Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00472

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), 3:321. 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

Camden New Jersey1
Dec: 27 '82

Thanks for the Molière—the Vols:—(vivacious & jaunty—& entirely new to me & not too deep)—will surely lighten many hours in a way most opportune & desirable2

I am well as usual—have been out in Germantown on a few days' visit—have taken long rides & explorations along the Wissahickon, Indian Rock, & all about that region3Happy New Year

Walt Whitman


1. This letter is addressed: Wm D O'Connor | Life Saving Service—Treasury | Washington | D C. It is postmarked: Philadelphia | Dec | 27 | 7 PM | Pa. [back]

2. A three-volume edition of Molière, translated by Henri Van Laun, is now in the Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919 (Library of Congress, Washington D.C.). Interestingly, it was published in 1880 by Worthington. [back]

3. From December 23 to 25 Whitman spent a "pleasant time at R. Pearsall Smith's and his wife Mrs Hannah W Smith (& dear daughter Mary) at 4653 Germantown avenue . . . the fine, long, spirited drives along the Wissahickon, the rocks and banks, the hemlocks, Indian Rock—Miss Willard, Miss Kate Sanborn, Lloyd Smith (R P's brother) the librarian" (Whitman's Commonplace Book, Feinberg Collection). Whitman was again with the Smiths from December 30 to January 2 (Whitman's Commonplace Book). Mary Smith, a student at Smith College, forced her somewhat reluctant family to visit the poet. Her father became very fond of Whitman, who, however, never "hitched" with his wife, a famous Quaker leader (1832–1911). Hannah Smith was not impressed with the poet's Hicksite leanings or his verse. Whitman was very fond of the other two Smith children, Alys and Logan Pearsall (1865–1946). Lloyd Smith (1822–1886) was a publisher and a librarian. See Logan Pearsall Smith, Unforgotten Years (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1939), 92–108, and A Religious Rebel: The Letters of "H. W. S." (Mrs. Pearsall Smith) (London: 1949), xvii–xviii. Whitman's visit to the Smith family is also discussed in Jon Miller, "'Father Walt': Frances Willard and Walt Whitman," Walt Whitman Quarterly Review 28 (Summer/Fall 2010), 54–60. [back]


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