Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Jessie Louisa Whitman to Walt Whitman, 6 March 1888

Date: March 6, 1888

Whitman Archive ID: owu.00030

Source: The Bayley-Whitman Collection, Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware, OH. Transcribed from digital images or a microfilm reproduction of the original item. 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, Alex Ashland, Breanna Himschoot, and Stephanie Blalock

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Mar. 6th/88
#15 Washington St

Dear Uncle Walt.

I am afraid you will think my promise to write to you was not sincere but I have had very little time to myself for letter writing but now that I have set about to redeem my word I hope it will be welcome and receive a speedy reply from you. To begin at the beginning of my visit I spent nearly three weeks in New York with Mr. & Mrs. Northen1 and of course had a splendid opportunity of going about and seeing all I wanted in New York. I was quite fortunate with regard to the weather as I believe we only had two real stormy days while I was there. One thing I enjoyed about as much as any was the exhibition of pictures out at the Museum in the Park. Miss Woolf's2 collection, the very rich lady who died a year or so ago, was there also a large number of others including the one given by Vanderbilt called "The Horse Fair."3 I believe looking at beautiful pictures and hearing good music are my chief pleasures with of course reading added the last a thing one could hardly exist without.

I went over to Brooklyn to call on Jo. Barkelor.4 You of course remember her, she was so fond Grandma5 and is one of your ardent admirers. I did enjoy seeing her so much as I was unfortunate to miss her when I called last July as she had sailed for Europe the day before.

She is a very lovely and smart woman. Well to proceed with my trip I left New York on the twentieth of February for Hartford and have enjoyed my visit so far very much. These friends were new last fall but I almost feel as if I had known them always, particularly one from Ireland who is on a visit to America for the first time. Next Saturday I go to another friend's house for a couple of weeks which will about end my traveling about and turn my face once more towards Burlington.

Do write me very soon and accept lots of love from6
Your niece
Jessie Whitman

Jessie Louisa Whitman (1863–1957) was the second and youngest daughter of Whitman's brother Thomas Jefferson "Jeff" Whitman (1833–1890) and Jeff's wife Martha Mitchell Whitman (1836–1873).


1. As yet we have no information about this person. [back]

2. As yet we have no information about this person. [back]

3. The Horse Fair is an oil painting made by Rosa Bonheur and gifted to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1887 by Cornelius Vanderbilt. An image of this painting is available at the Metropolitan Museum of Art website. [back]

4. As yet we have no information about this person. [back]

5. Louisa Van Velsor Whitman (1795–1873) married Walter Whitman, Sr., in 1816; together they had nine children, of whom Walt was the second. The close relationship between Louisa and her son Walt contributed to his liberal view of gender representation and his sense of comradeship. For more information on Louisa Van Velsor Whitman, see Sherry Ceniza, "Whitman, Louisa Van Velsor (1795–1873)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]

6. Jessie's closing salute and signature appear in the upper-left corner of the first page of the letter. [back]


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