Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Anne Gilchrist, 11 November [1877]

Date: November 11, 1877

Whitman Archive ID: upa.00166

Source: Walt Whitman Collection, 1842–1957, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, University of Pennsylvania. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 3:102. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Alicia Bones, Grace Thomas, Eder Jaramillo, and Kevin McMullen

Sunday noon—Nov 11

Harry came up yesterday—staid the afternoon—went back home in the 6 train—his father is sick in bed—they are quite anxious about him2—(H[arry] wished me to explain to you & Herby3—then it was very stormy here Sat: p m)—I am well—have been out this forenoon for a hundred-rod-walk—the painting upside-down still continues here—I will be over Monday, by 5½ or 6—



1. This letter bears the address: Mrs Gilchrist | 1929 North 22d Street | Philadelphia. It is postmarked: Camden | Nov | 11 | N.J. [back]

2. After Harry Stafford visited Whitman on November 10, and informed the poet that his father was "quite unwell," Whitman sent "an affectionate letter" and a small bottle of whisky to Mr. Stafford (Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). On November 13, Harry urgently suggested that Whitman come immediately to Kirkwood. During his stay there from November 14 to 17, Whitman learned that George Stafford suffered from stomach hemorrhages—hematomesis (see Whitman's letter to Edward Carpenter on November 27, 1877). [back]

3. Since Herbert Gilchrist walked to Kirkwood on November 4 and returned on the following day, Harry wanted him to be informed of his father's condition (The Commonplace Book). Herbert and Harry, however, were not on amicable terms (see Whitman's letter to Harry on August 7, 1877). On October 24 Harry complained to Whitman: "H. G. is down yet, he will be down for several days by the way he talks. him and our folks get along well, Mother thinks him tip top, and it makes her mad if I say any thing against him. she told me the other day if I did not want to sleep with him I could go somewhere else for she was not going to keep a bed for me by myself." Evidently the two young men were later on better terms, for, according to Harry's letter to Whitman on November 7, Herbert invited him to spend the weekend with the Gilchrists. [back]


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