Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to William D. O'Connor, 31 March 1889

Date: March 31, 1889

Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00668

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 The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 314. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Blake Bronson-Bartlett




Camden
March 31 '891

Thanks for N[elly]'s2 card & am cheer'd much3—Have been looking at some vols: Stedman's great "American Literature"—It is a deep mine & probably best of that sort of thing—Much the same with me as before—A lady has just made & sent me in some ice cream, of which I took moderately (if you ever have trouble with qualmish revolting stomach, try ice cream—I have more than once found it a great help)—


Walt Whitman


Correspondent:
William Douglas O'Connor (1832–1889) was the author of the grand and grandiloquent Whitman pamphlet "The Good Gray Poet," published in 1866 (a digital version of the pamphlet is available at "The Good Gray Poet: A Vindication"). 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).

Notes:

1. This postal card is addressed: Wm D O'Connor | 1015 O Street N W | Washington D C. It is postmarked: Camden, N.J. | Mar 31 | 5 PM | 89; Washington, Rec'd. | Apr 1 | 2 AM | 89 | 7. [back]

2. Ellen M. "Nelly" O'Connor was the wife of William D. O'Connor (1832–1889), one of Whitman's staunchest defenders. Whitman dined with the O'Connors frequently during his Washington years. Though Whitman and William O'Connor would temporarily break off their friendship in late 1872 over Reconstruction policies with regard to emancipated black citizens, Ellen would remain friendly with Whitman. The correspondence between Whitman and Ellen is almost as voluminous as the poet's correspondence with William. For more on Whitman's relationship with the O'Connors, see Dashae E. Lott, "William Douglas O'Connor," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings, ed., (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]

3. According to the message of March 29, William was somewhat improved (Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden [Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1953], 4: 451). [back]


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