Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Herbert Gilchrist, 12 December 1886

Date: December 12, 1886

Whitman Archive ID: upa.00084

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.

Contributors to digital file: Stefan Schöberlein and Kyle Barton

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328 Mickle street—Camden New Jersey
U S America1
Dec. 12 1886

Yours of Nov. 29. with the P. O. order 14s-6d-rec'd—(the three sums, £2 10s, £5, & 14s-6d safely rec'd)2—Fervent thanks—(I wish I could return them personally)—I have been quite unwell for a week, but am easier to-day—have eaten a bit of breakfast for the first time in many days—A long cold snow-storm here—My bird is singing gaily as I write—

Walt Whitman

Herbert Harlakenden Gilchrist (1857–1914), son of Alexander and Anne Gilchrist, was an English painter and editor of Anne Gilchrist: Her Life and Writings (London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1887). For more information, see Marion Walker Alcaro, "Gilchrist, Herbert Harlakenden (1857–1914)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


1. This postal card is addressed: Herbert H Gilchrist | 12 Well Road | Hampstead | London England. It is postmarked: CAMDEN | DEC | 12 | 5 PM | (?) | N.J. [back]

2. These sums are explained in Herbert's letter of December 23: he had sent £2.10 for Richard Colles (see the letter from Whitman to Colles of November 18, 1886); £5 from Leonard M. Brown (see the letter from Whitman to Brown of November 19, 1887); and 14s. 6d. from Cambridge friends. Herbert was hurt: "You make no allusion to my Book or my little confidences thereon! do you care for a copy?" Undoubtedly he was referring to the fact that Whitman had not replied to his letters of September 10, October 16, and November 9, in which he recounted his difficulties in publishing the biography of his mother. In the letter of November 9 he observed: "I am so sorry that I have finished my labour of love, the doing of the Biography has been the greatest imaginable comfort and solace to me,—in a sense it has given me another year of her companionship." [back]


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