Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to John Burroughs, 29 March [1878]

Date: March 29, 1878

Whitman Archive ID: uva.00376

Source: Papers of Walt Whitman (MSS 3829), Clifton Waller Barrett Library of American Literature, Albert H. Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. 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: Elizabeth Lorang, Alicia Bones, Grace Thomas, Anthony Dreesen, Kevin McMullen, and Nicole Gray

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Friday even'g March 291

Dear friend

Your card just rec'd—I am still badly under the weather—spells of prostration like those of two years ago—& now for more than a week the restless wretched nights of the rheumatic—Still a good heart & not only a hope but confidence having pass'd through worse spells several times—that I shall get round soon & be the same as before ill—I am up, & feeling quite jolly this evening—

Instead of 15th of April I think it would be safer to fix the lecture night, any where between the 10th & 20th May—If you & the rest feel to, go on that understanding, as a settled thing

What is Benton's address in N Y?—If convenient, I should like to see the list of names, & the draft of the letter, before formally put out—if you think well of this, either send me the list, or tell Benton to send it me forthwith

Beatrice Gilchrist is over here with us this evening—the G's break camp here in three or four weeks—spend the ensuing year excursively in America2

Write me the moves—I shall be home here all the time—Every thing (p o, or telegram) comes here, (431 Stevens Street Camden N.J.) as unerringly as fate, & very promptly3



1. The envelope for this letter bears the address: John Burroughs | Esopus-on-Hudson | New York. It is postmarked: Camden | Mar | 29 | N.J. [back]

2. On May 1, Anne Gilchrist informed Burroughs that they were in Northampton, Massachusetts, and mentioned her sorrow in leaving Philadelphia: "We had planted our tent so firmly and spread our possessions around us so, at 1929. However it stands empty and forlorn now" (Clara Barrus, Whitman and Burroughs—Comrades [Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1931], 145). This description of her former home undoubtedly characterized her own emotional state after an association with Whitman for eighteen months during which she had learned, how painfully she never divulged in her correspondence, the impossibility of establishing a physical relationship with the poet. [back]

3. Burroughs came to Camden to see Whitman on April 1 (Whitman's Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). [back]


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