Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to William D. O'Connor, 25 September [1883]

Date: September 25, 1883

Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00501

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), 3:353. 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, Kirsten Clawson, Nima Najafi Kianfar, and Nicole Gray

Sept 25 (noon)

I shouldn't advise trying the C[ritic].2 Let it go for the present. I have rec'd a cheery letter from C W E[ldridge]—says he has hung out his shingle as lawyer—but two or three lines in it squint at going into publishing yet3—John Burroughs is at Ocean Grove N.J. temporarily for sanitary purposes.4 A bright, sunny glorious day here as I write—



1. This letter is endorsed: "Answ'd Dec 2/83." It is addressed: Wm D O'Connor | Life Saving Service | Washington D C. It is postmarked: Camden | Sep | 25 | 4 PM | N.J.; Washington, Recd. | Sep | 26 | 5 AM | 1883 | 2. [back]

2. On September 18 O'Connor spoke of "a vague wandering notion of sending it to The Critic," but "I felt rather deterred by the remembrance of [Joseph L.] Gilder's unfriendly sport at me when I was fighting that contemptible clergyman, Chadwick, and was so clearly in the right" (Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden [1906–1996], 9 vols., 4:395). [back]

3. Eldridge, who had lost his governmental position because of "an uncircumcized dog," and was about to establish a law practice in Boston, wrote to Whitman on September 22: "I am still in the prime of life, have health, some means and many friends, and if under these circumstances I did not cheerfully accept the situation I should be unworthy ever to have read Leaves of Grass, with its philosophy of hope and the morning." O'Connor, as indicated in his letter to Whitman of September 22, wanted Eldridge to re-enter the publishing business, "so that we might start a magazine, and make it pleasant for the bats and owls and literary carrion generally, but he appears to have abandoned the idea" (Traubel, 4:191–192). [back]

4. On September 21 Burroughs invited Whitman to join him at the seashore. [back]


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