Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to William D. O'Connor, 19 November 1886

Date: November 19, 1886

Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00552

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), 4:54–55. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Kyle Barton and Stefan Schöberlein

328 Mickle Street
Camden New Jersey1
Nov. 19 '86

Dear friend

If you feel like it write me soon as convenient after rec'ing this, as it is quite a while since I have heard from you, & I am getting anxious.2 Nothing very different with me—I go out by my own volition not at all, as my power of walking &c. is quite gone. I only get from one room to another in the house, with effort & very slowly—I drive out fair mid-days—Sleep tolerably—appetite good—digestion so-so—

I write (prose pieces) from time to time yet—have one ab't "Burns" in N. A. Review for November—(they pay quite well, & Redpath is very good to me)3—Have a paper "My Book & I" in Lippincott's for Jan. next4—will send it you in printed slip—Shall probably get ready my little concluding book "November Boughs" this winter or next spring—I enclose Dr Bucke's last, just rec'd—the Heine extract it is possible I rec'd from you, but think not5—I found it very interesting. Best Love as always—

Walt Whitman

William Douglas O'Connor (1832–1889) was the author of the grand and grandiloquent Whitman pamphlet The Good Gray Poet: A Vindication, published in 1866. For more on Whitman's relationship with O'Connor, see Deshae E. Lott, "O'Connor, William Douglas (1832–1889)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


1. This letter is endorsed: Answ'd Dec 11/86. It is addressed: Wm D O'Connor | Life Saving Service | Washington | D C. It is postmarked: Camden | Nov | 19 | 12 M | 1886 | N.J.; Washington(?) | Nov | 19 | 10 PM | 1886 | 6. [back]

2. O'Connor did not reply until December 10 because "the difficulty of managing pen and ink is indescribable, and only equalled by the difficulty of putting even the simplest expressions together." [back]

3. Whitman received $70 for this article (Whitman's Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). [back]

4. Whitman returned the proof of this article on November 1 (Whitman's Commonplace Book). [back]

5. Whitman enclosed "Heine's Last Days," a reprint of an article in the Pall Mall Gazette[back]


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