Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Herbert Gilchrist, 29 April [1879]

Date: April 29, 1879

Whitman Archive ID: upa.00070

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 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: Alicia Bones, Grace Thomas, Eder Jaramillo, Kevin McMullen, and Nicole Gray

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April 29

All goes well—enjoyed my journey up the river that afternoon & evening—10½ when I got in—Every thing soothes, comforts, invigorates me here—the hills, rocks, sky, river, nearer & more to me than ever2

All well here—the baby superb3—yesterday we spent at Po'keepsie & in Vassar College4—I return to N Y Friday or Saturday—



1. This postal card is addressed: Herbert Gilchrist | 112 Madison avenue | New York City. It is postmarked: Esopus | (?). [back]

2. Whitman stayed with John Burroughs from April 23 to May 3, 1879 (Whitman's Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). A report of his journey appeared in the New York Tribune on May 17 under the heading, "Real Summer Openings"; most of the material was included in Specimen Days (ed. Floyd Stovall [New York: New York University Press, 1963], 190–196, 339–341). Burroughs was particularly delighted with what was to be Whitman's last visit to Esopus-on-Hudon: "The weather has been nearly perfect, and his visit has been a great treat to me—April days with Homer and Socrates for company" (Clara Barrus, Whitman and Burroughs—Comrades [Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1931], 184). [back]

3. The report in the New York Tribune included two paragraphs describing Burroughs's son, Julian, passages omitted in Specimen Days (ed. Floyd Stovall [New York: New York University Press, 1963], 339–340). [back]

4. On April 28, 1879, Whitman visited Professor Frédéric Louis Ritter (1834–1891), professor of music and art at Vassar College. Fanny Raymond Ritter, a musician and a friend of William D. O'Connor, invited Whitman to visit her in a letter to O'Connor on April 26, 1876 (Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Monday, January 7, 1889, 483–484). Her letter "was on rose tinted paper in a pale green envelope, and perfumed like Arabia Felix," or so O'Connor described it to Burroughs on May 4, 1876. Professor Ritter composed a musical setting for "Dirge for Two Veterans" (see the letter from Whitman to John Burroughs of February 21, 1880, and Barrus, 355). [back]


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