Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Anne Gilchrist, 20 March 1881

Date: March 20, 1881

Whitman Archive ID: upa.00198

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), 3:219–220. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Stefan Schoeberlein, Nima Najafi Kianfar, Eder Jaramillo, and Nicole Gray

Kirkwood New Jersey U S America1
March 20 '81

I am down here spending a few days2—Every thing continues very much the same—Our friends the S[tafford]s still at Glendale, farming & store-keeping—Mr and Mrs S. & all the boys & girls as usual—

Nothing very new with me—I suppose you have rec'd my pieces, slips, papers &c. sent the past winter3—I rec'd your good letter ab't ten days ago4—trust you are yourself again in sound health by this time5—I believe I wrote last ab't my being somewhat unwell6—got badly chill'd—felt the effects two months—am now pretty well over it, & expect to be as usual till next time—My brother & sister well—J[ohn] B[urroughs] is reading the proofs of new book Pepacton (the Indian name of a beautiful little river)7—I am out in the woods a great deal—to-day mild but damp & cloudy—a little bird they call the rain-bird is singing softly & coyly on a bush over the road—



1. This letter bears the address: Mrs Gilchrist | Keats' corner Well Road | Hampstead | London | England. It is postmarked: Philadelphia | Mar | 21 | (?); London (?) | D | Paid | 4(?) Ap 81. [back]

2. Whitman was at Glendale from March 18 to 22, March 26 to 30, and April 2 to 7 (Whitman's Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). [back]

3. One of the pieces Whitman sent to Anne Gilchrist was "Death of Carlyle," to which she referred in her reply on April 18, 1881[back]

4. Anne Gilchrist's letter was sent on February 16 (University of Pennsylvania). [back]

5. In her answer on April 18, Gilchrist wrote: "I am well again so far as digestion &c. goes; but bronchitis & asthma of a chronic kind still trouble me. My breath is so short, I cannot walk, which is a privation." [back]

6. Whitman wrote last to Anne Gilchrist on January 1, 1881, before his illness. She noted his error in her reply. [back]

7. Burroughs mentioned this fact in his letter of March 14. Pepacton includes "Nature and the Poets" (see the letter from Whitman to Burroughs of November 23, 1879). [back]


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