Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to William D. O'Connor, 11 July 1888

Date: July 11, 1888

Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00720

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), 4:184. 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, Ryan Furlong, Ian Faith, and Stephanie Blalock

Camden Wednesday
July 11 '881

Matters hold their own mainly—I have had a bad whack—confined in this room & bed now the fifth week—& am poorly yet—but I may (probably will to extent) rally—Spirits fair—work power nil—Seize a twenty minutes soon & write me ab't yourself2

Walt W

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 July 12/88." It is addressed: Wm D O'Connor | 1015 O Street | Washington D C. It is postmarked: Camden, N.J. | Jul 11 | 8 PM | 88; Washington (?) | Jul 12 | 7 AM | 88. [back]

2. On July 12, 1888 O'Connor wrote: "I have felt that you and I were brothers in misfortune." He also praised the 20 proof pages of "Sands at Seventy" that Whitman sent on June 23, 1888. However, he did not appreciate the inclusion of "The Dead Emperor": "[I] find some consolation in the sweet assurance that he is finally damned, and can trouble earth no more!" Also on July 12 O'Connor mentioned the hostile reception of Ignatius Donnelly's "book" in England (probably The Great Cryptogram: Francis Bacon's Cipher in the So-Called Shakespeare Plays [1888]). [back]


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