Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Mary Whitall Smith Costelloe, 2 August 1886

Date: August 2, 1886

Whitman Archive ID: uva.00492

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), 4:39. 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, Kyle Barton, and Nicole Gray

328 Mickle Street
Camden New Jersey US America1
Aug: 2 '86

A pleasant forenoon as I write, here by the open window. I remain ab't as usual—a little pull'd down by the heat perhaps. Your letter came, & was welcome, as always—Alys's "circular"2 came, & now one from Romsey arrived this morn'g—I had a letter from Dr B[ucke] two days ago— all well—

Walt Whitman

Mary Whitall Smith Costelloe (1864–1945) was a political activist, art historian, and critic, whom Whitman once called his "staunchest living woman friend." A scholar of Italian Renaissance art and a daughter of Robert Pearsall Smith, she would in 1885 marry B. F. C. "Frank" Costelloe. She had been in contact with many of Whitman's English friends and would travel to Britain in 1885 to visit many of them, including Anne Gilchrist shortly before her death. For more, see Christina Davey, "Costelloe, Mary Whitall Smith (1864–1945)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


1. This letter is addressed: Mrs: Costelloe | 40 Grosvenor Road | Westminster | London England. It is postmarked: Camden | Aug | 2 | 3 PM | N.J. [back]

2. Alys (Mary's sister) had sent a "circular" letter to her friends. It reached Whitman in a letter on July 30 from Mary Grace Thomas, a young student at Bryn Mawr College. In her article in the Pall Mall Gazette on December 23, Mary Costelloe combined the texts of this card and Whitman's letter from August 15[back]


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