Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to John Burroughs, 17 May [1877]

Date: May 17, 1877

Whitman Archive ID: uva.00378

Source: Papers of Walt Whitman (MSS 3829), Clifton Waller Barrett Library of American Literature, Albert H. Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 3:83. 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, Kevin McMullen, Nicole Gray, and Kenneth Price

Kirkwood N J1
May 172

Dear John Burroughs

I am passing a good part of my time down here at the farm I believe I mentioned to you. Still keep well for me & jolly—am all tann'd & sunburnt—Eat my rations every time—

I was up yesterday to Camden to get my mail—& found the book3—read it all over with appreciative & I think critical eyes—my impression of liking it, as a curiously homogeneous work—(just enough radiations to make it piquant)—& in connection liking the name &c—all deepened & clinched. I especially much like—& more like—the chapter about me. There has certainly been nothing yet said that so makes the points—(& eloquently makes them—) I most want brought out & put on record—Are you coming to the Gilchrists? & when?4



1. This letter is addressed: John Burroughs | Esopus-on-Hudso[n] | Ulster County New York. It is postmarked: Philadelphia | May 18 | 1 PM | Pa. [back]

2. Walt Whitman had been with the Staffords before he returned to Camden on May 15; he went back to Kirkwood on the following day and remained there until May 22 (The Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). [back]

3. This is a reference to Burroughs' Birds and Poets. According to The Commonplace Book, however, Walt Whitman received the book on May 23 (Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). [back]

4. Burroughs was expected to visit the Gilchrists in June (see the letter from Walt Whitman to Anne and Herbert Gilchrist on June 12, 1877), but he apparently was unable to come to Philadelphia. [back]


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