Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Thomas Jefferson Whitman, 13 June 1887

Date: June 13, 1887

Whitman Archive ID: prc.00121

Source: Private collection of Dr. Kendall Reed. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Ted Genoways (Iowa City, Iowa: University of Iowa Press, 2004), 7:88–89. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Ryan Furlong, Stefan Schöberlein, Caterina Bernardini, and Stephanie Blalock

June 13 '87

Am pretty well to-day (after being under the weather the past week)—Nothing new in my affairs—I am getting along comfortably—Shall soon send tear of a new piece of mine in a magazine.2 There is a Boston scheme afoot to get me a little house in the country or sea shore.3

Walt Whitman

Thomas Jefferson Whitman (1833–1890), known as "Jeff," was Walt Whitman's favorite brother. As a civil engineer, Jeff eventually became Superintendent of Water Works in St. Louis and a nationally recognized figure. For more on Jeff, see Randall Waldron, "Whitman, Thomas Jefferson (1833–1890)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


1. This letter is addressed: Thos: J Whitman | 2437 2d Carondelet Av: | St. Louis Missouri. It is postmarked: Camden, N.J. | June | 8 PM | 87. [back]

2. Lippincott's Monthly Magazine paid Walt Whitman $50 for his poem "November Boughs" and published the cluster in November 1887. [back]

3. Boston friends were raising money to buy a summer cottage they hoped would improve Whitman's failing health. Whitman eventually used the money to build his extravagant mausoleum in Harleigh Cemetery—to the shock and dismay of those who had worked hardest to solicit money for the cottage. [back]


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