Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Harry Stafford, 10 September [1882]

Date: September 10, 1882

Whitman Archive ID: prc.00084

Source: Kendall Reed Collection. The transcription presented here is derived from Ed Folsom, "Three Unpublished Whitman Letters to Harry Stafford and a Specimen Days Prose Fragment," Walt Whitman Quarterly Review, 197–200. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Stefan Schoeberlein, Nima Najafi Kianfar, Kirsten Clawson, Nicole Gray, and Elizabeth Lorang

Sunday Sept: 10

Dear Harry

Thanks for your good letter—I have had my hands full the last six or eight weeks getting my new book in shape, seeing to every thing, and watching the proofs day & night1—(I have had to read the proofs at night all through)—But now it is over & I begin to feel free again—(And yet I must say I kind of enjoy it, & should like to go through the same job two or three times a year)—I have had the mighty good luck to keep well this summer all through—my usual bad spell (I always expect one after I have felt pretty good awhile) has not come on—

Dear boy I am glad you too keep so well & are having good quiet times—I envy you being down there in the country—(I always thought Clementon2 a much pleasanter spot than you[r] folks appear'd to think it)—I could be satisfied to live there—

—I got a long letter from Herbert3—he is getting along well—traveling and painting—I have also rec'd a letter from Edward Carpenter4—he is well—he sends his love to you—

—Hank perhaps while I am writing this (Sunday noon) you are over home—I wish I was there with you all—

—As I finish my letter a lady opposite is singing & playing the hymn "Nearer my god to Thee"—how beautiful it sounds—

Love to you my darling young brother


1. Specimen Days & Collect was published on September 8, 1882, by Rees Welsh in Philadelphia. [back]

2. Clementon, New Jersey, is a town about twelve miles from Whitman's home in Camden; it is right next to Kirkwood, where Harry's parents, George and Susan Stafford, lived on a farm Whitman frequently visited. Harry worked in Clementon at this time. [back]

3. Herbert Gilchrist (1857–1914), the artist-son of Anne Gilchrist, was a frequent visitor with Whitman to the Stafford farm. For more on him, see Marion Walker Alcaro, "Gilchrist, Herbert Harlakenden (1857–1914)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings, ed., (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]

4. Carpenter (1844–1929) was a British socialist writer and devoted follower of Whitman. [back]


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