Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to William D. O'Connor, 4 April 1889

Date: April 4, 1889

Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00670

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), 4:316. 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, Caterina Bernardini, Alex Ashland, and Stephanie Blalock

April 4 '891

Interest myself (partially) with the 7 vols. I have rec'd of Stedman's2 "Am: Literature"—some new things & some older. Grant's & Sherman's &c. quite fascinate me.3 (I am in the 7th Vol. & at better presentation, picture &c. than you might fancy)4—Am still under my "cold in the head" misery (to use the word of the Virginia blacks—& a very fitting one in this case)—

Best love.
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 addressed: Wm D O'Connor | 1015 O Street N W | Washington | D C. It is postmarked: Camden (?)| Apr (?) | 6 (?) | 8(?). [back]

2. Edmund Clarence Stedman (1833–1908) was a man of diverse talents. He edited for a year the Mountain County Herald at Winsted, Connecticut, wrote "Honest Abe of the West," presumably Lincoln's first campaign song, and served as correspondent of the New York World from 1860 to 1862. In 1862 and 1863 he was a private secretary in the Attorney General's office until he entered the firm of Samuel Hallett and Company in September, 1863. The next year he opened his own brokerage office. He published many volumes of poems and was an indefatigable compiler of anthologies, among which were Poets of America, 2 vols. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1885) and A Library of American Literature from the Earliest Settlement to the Present Time, 11 vols. (New York: C. L. Webster, 1889–90). For more, see Donald Yannella, "Stedman, Edmund Clarence (1833–1908)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]

3. The selections from Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman appear in Edmund Clarence Stedman and Ellen Mackay Hutchinson, eds., A Library of American Literature (Charles L. Webster & Company: New York, 1889), 7: 573–580, and 550–555, respectively. [back]

4. See Stedman's letter to Whitman of March 27, 1889[back]


Published Works | In Whitman's Hand | Life & Letters | Commentary | Resources | Pictures & Sound

Support the Archive | About the Archive

Distributed under a Creative Commons License. Matt Cohen, Ed Folsom, & Kenneth M. Price, editors.