Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Anne Gilchrist, 8 December 1885

Date: December 8, 1885

Whitman Archive ID: upa.00057

Source: Walt Whitman Collection, 1842–1957, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, University of Pennsylvania. 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 derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller, 6 vols. (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), and supplemented, updated, or created by Whitman Archive staff as appropriate.

Editorial notes: The annotation, "Sprague Collection No 28," is in an unknown hand. The annotation, "Received Dec: 18th | H H G.," is in the hand of Herbert Gilchrist.

Contributors to digital file: Stefan Schöberlein and Kyle Barton

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Tuesday noon
Dec: 8 '85

Dear friend2

I think of you very often, & cannot but trust your illness is less gloomy than Herbert states it—I know I have myself felt convinced several times during the last twelve or thirteen years of serious conditions & finálés that endurance has tided over—& O I so hope that you will surmount all—& that we may yet meet each other face to face.

—I am middling well—the trouble in my eyesight (& very annoying it was to my anchor'd condition) seems to have pass'd over—We are having extremely cold weather here, & I do not get out of the house—but it is bright & sunny as I look out—I wrote a card to Herbert three days ago, which I suppose he has rec'd—God's peace & blessing to you, beloved friend—

Walt Whitman
with best love

Anne Burrows Gilchrist (1828–1885) was the author of one of the first significant pieces of criticism on Leaves of Grass, titled "A Woman's Estimate of Walt Whitman (From Late Letters by an English Lady to W. M. Rossetti)," The Radical 7 (May 1870), 345–59. Gilchrist's long correspondence with Whitman indicates that she had fallen in love with the poet after reading his work; when the pair met in 1876 when she moved to Philadelphia, Whitman never fully returned her affection, although their friendship deepened after that meeting. For more information on their relationship, see Marion Walker Alcaro, "Gilchrist, Anne Burrows (1828–1885)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


1. This letter is addressed: Mrs: Anne Gilchrist | 12 Well Road | Hampstead | London | England. It is postmarked: CAMDEN | DEC | 8 | 2 PM | 1885 | N.J.; PHILADELPHIA P.A. | DEC | 8 | 1885 | PAID; LONDON N.W. | Z 7 | DE 18 | 8 [illegible]. [back]

2. Whitman did not know that Anne Gilchrist had died on November 29. [back]


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