Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: James Scovel to Walt Whitman, 7 February 1879

Date: February 7, 1879

Whitman Archive ID: ucb.00061

Source: Walt Whitman Collection, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley. 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.

Notes for this letter were created by Whitman Archive staff and/or were derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller, 6 vols. (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), and supplemented or updated by Whitman Archive staff.

Contributors to digital file: Kirsten Clawson, Nima Najafi Kianfar, Eder Jaramillo, and Nicole Gray

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Camden, N. J.,
Fey 7 18791

My Dear Walt

Friday has come & gone2—& no report as the dinner with the author of the, I fear, (abortive?) "Bride of Gettysburg"

I wrote him that unless I wrote au contraire we wd be there on Gods Holy Day. "Watchman tell us of the night"—war worn Veteran!—who like a true soldier wear your "wounds & Honors a' front", speak to me!

Badinage aside, you cheered me, lustily, over that milk punch. Thy talk was like a crisp Healthful winters day—

Thine Tenderly,


1. Whitman crossed out this letter and wrote a series of manuscript notes on the back of it. [back]

2. James Matlack Scovel (1833–1904) began to practice law in Camden in 1856. During the Civil War, he was in the New Jersey legislature and became a colonel in 1863. He campaigned actively for Horace Greeley in 1872, and was a special agent for the U.S. Treasury during Chester Arthur's administration. In the 1870s, Whitman frequently went to Scovel's home for Sunday breakfast (Whitman's Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). For a description of these breakfasts, see Walt Whitman's Diary in Canada, ed. William Sloane Kennedy (Boston: Small, Maynard, 1904), 59–60. For Scovel, see George R. Prowell's The History of Camden County, New Jersey (Philadelphia: L. J. Richards, 1886). [back]


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