Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Thomas Donaldson, 4 May 1886

Date: May 4, 1886

Whitman Archive ID: uva.00485

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), 4:27. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Stefan Schöberlein and Kyle Barton

328 Mickle Street
Camden New Jersey1
May 4 '86

I have been going for two weeks to write special letters of thanks &c. to you & T[alcott] W[illiams]2 for your kindness & labors in my lecture—& raising in it $674 for me.3 I appreciate it all, & indeed thank you. It is the biggest stroke of pure kindness & concrete help I have ever rec'd—But all formal letters must just fizzle down to this card—whose duplicate I send to T W—

Walt Whitman

Thomas Donaldson (1843–1898) was a lawyer from Philadelphia and a friend of Whitman. He introduced Whitman to Bram Stoker and later accompanied Stoker when he visited the poet; he also organized a fund-raising drive to buy Whitman a horse and carriage. He authored a biography of Whitman titled Walt Whitman, the Man (1896). For more information about Donaldson, see Steven Schroeder, "Donaldson, Thomas (1843–1898)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


1. This letter is addressed: Thomas Donaldson | 326 North Fortieth Street | Philadelphia. It is postmarked: Camden | May | (?); Received | May 6 | 9 PM | Phila.; (?) | May 7 86 | 6 AM. [back]

2. Talcott Williams (1849–1928) was associated with the New York Sun and World as well as the Springfield Republican before he became the editor of the Philadelphia Press in 1879. His newspaper vigorously defended Whitman in news articles and editorials after the Boston censorship of 1882. For more information about Williams, see Philip W. Leon, "Williams, Talcott (1849–1928)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]

3. See the letter from Whitman to William D. O'Connor of April 12, 1886[back]


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