Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Robert Fletcher to Walt Whitman, 26 May 1891

Date: May 26, 1891

Whitman Archive ID: prc.00151

Source: This letter is held in a private collection. Genoways's transcription is derived from a transcript of the letter that was published by David J. Holmes Autographs. The transcription presented here is derived from The Correspondence of Walt Whitman: A Fourth Supplement with Addenda to the Calendar of Letters Written to Whitman, ed. Ted Genoways (Iowa City: Walt Whitman Quarterly Review, 2002), 19:147. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Marie Ernster, Erel Michaelis, Amanda J. Axley, Cristin Noonan, and Stephanie Blalock

I1 infer from a recent article2 in the New England Magazine3 that the latest Edition of your books, and the one, perhaps, which you regard as the most accurate, is to be obtained directly from you. If this be the case, will you kindly inform me of the amount which I may send as the price of a copy?4

Dr. Robert Fletcher (1823–1912), a native of Bristol, England, was the son of the attorney Robert Fletcher and Esther Wall Fletcher. He studied law at his father's office, then was educated at Bristol Medical School and continued at London Hospital. He came to the United States to Ohio in 1847 and practiced medicine; during the Civil War he was in the field as a surgeon in Ohio and later was responsible for a military hopsital in Nashville. In 1876 he was appointed Acting Assistant Surgeon, U.S.A., and prepared the Index Catalogue for the Library of the Surgeon General's Office. He was a member of numerous socities, was honored with a gold medal from the Royal College of Surgeons, and a portrait of him was placed the Library of the Surgeon General's Office in the Army Medical Museum Building. See D. S. Lamb, "Robert Fletcher," American Anthropologist n.s. vol. 14.4 [October–December 1912], 687–690).


1. Dr. Robert Fletcher sent this letter from the Army Medical Museum in Washington, D.C. [back]

2. Horace Traubel's article, "Walt Whitman at Date," was published in the May 1891 issue of the New England Magazine 4.3 (May 1891), 275–292. The article is also reprinted in the first appendix of the eighth volume of Traubel's With Walt Whitman in Camden[back]

3. The New England Magazine was a monthly literary magazine published in Boston. The magazine was issued under the title of The Bay State Monthly from 1884 to 1886. Boston lecturer and writer Edwin Doak Mead (1849–1937) was the edtior of The New England Magazine from 1889 to 1901. [back]

4. In his Commonplace Book, Whitman wrote: "June 2 sent big book to Dr Fletcher Army Medical Museum / Wash'n D C. by express" (Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.) [back]


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