Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Mary Smith Costelloe, 25 June 1887

Date: June 25, 1887

Whitman Archive ID: uva.00553

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), 4:104. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Ryan Furlong, Stefan Schöberlein, Kevin McMullen, and Stephanie Blalock

Camden NJ US America1
June 25 '87—Saturday—near noon

It is a perfect day—sunny—cool enough, & I am feeling pretty well & will write you a line—How are you getting along? & how is the baby? & how is Alys2 & all?—

I have written two little poems lately & sold them & got the money for them3—will send them to you when printed. Am better than I was—Am sculpted & portraited lately—(I like 'em)—Love—

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 | the Embankment | London England. It is postmarked: Camden, N.J. | Jun 25 | 3 PM | 87; Philadelphia, Pa. | Jun | 25 | 1887 | Paid. [back]

2. Alys Smith (1867–1951) was Mary Costelloe's sister. She would eventually marry the philosopher Bertrand Russell. [back]

3. These pieces were "November Boughs" and "The Dying Veteran." [back]


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