Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Ernest Rhys, 1–2 October 1887

Date: October 1–2, 1887

Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00583

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), 6:45. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Ryan Furlong, Stefan Schöberlein, Caterina Bernardini, and Stephanie Blalock

Camden New Jersey U S America '871
Saturday Evn'g Oct. 1—

I remain ab't as usual in health—you probably have seen Herbert Gilchrist2, & rec'd y'r picture I sent you of myself (as the "laughing philospher")3—Suppose you rec'd the add'l copy I sent (by mail) to "Demo: Vistas," & the brief preface4 (in letter)—It is near sundown & I am sitting here by the open window, temperature moist & pleasant, & I feeling comfortable—Our "Indian Summer" now—

Sunday mn'g Oct. 2—Fine sunny mn'g—I have had a bit of mutton chop & some coffee—relish'd well—am going out for a drive in the country—am feeling comfortable—love to you and H[erbert] G[ilchrist].

Walt Whitman

Ernest Percival Rhys (1859–1946) was a British author and editor; he founded the Everyman's Library series of inexpensive reprintings of popular works. He included a volume of Whitman's poems in the Canterbury Poets series and two volumes of Whitman's prose in the Camelot series for Walter Scott publishers. For more information about Rhys, see Joel Myerson, "Rhys, Ernest Percival (1859–1946)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


1. This letter is addressed: Ernest Rhys | Care Walter Scott Publisher | 24 Warwick Lane | Paternoster | row | London England. It is postmarked: Camden, N.J. | Oct 2 | 5 PM | 87; Philadelphia, Pa | (?) | 2 | 1887 | Paid; London E.C. | A | Oc 14 87 | AB. [back]

2. Herbert Harlakenden Gilchrist (1857–1914), son of Alexander and Anne Gilchrist, was an English painter and editor of Anne Gilchrist: Her Life and Writings (London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1887). For more information, see Marion Walker Alcaro, "Gilchrist, Herbert Harlakenden (1857–1914)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]

3. "The Laughing Philosopher," one of the most famous photographs of Walt Whitman, was taken by G.C. Cox in 1887. [back]

4. Whitman provided Rhys with some new material to add to his volumes of Whitman's prose in the Camelot series. [back]


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