Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: William J. Sewell to Walt Whitman, 8 January 1884

Date: January 8, 1884

Whitman Archive ID: wwh.00027

Source: Walt Whitman House, Camden, N.J. 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.

Related items: Whitman cut this letter into pieces, pasted it together with several other letters, and used it as the foundation for a draft of "You tides with ceaseless swell," which is written on the back. See wwh.00025.

Contributors to digital file: Alex Kinnaman, Nicole Gray, and Stephanie Blalock

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[illegible] RAILROAD CO.1
[illegible]ENT'S OFFICE,
[illegible] J.,
Jany 8th 1884

[illegible] Whitman, Esq,
[illegible] Camden
[illegible] Dear Sir,

[illegible] find annual [illegible] WJ RRd2

[illegible] lly,
W. J. Sewell
Vice President.

William J. Sewell (1835–1901) was a politician, merchant, and military general who came to the U.S. from Ireland when he was a boy. During the Civil War, Sewell served in the Union Army, and was awarded a Medal of Honor after leading a charge at Chancellorsville. After the war, Sewell was affiliated with several railroads, including the Camden and Atlantic Railroad Company and the West Jersey Railroad Company. He was New Jersey state senator from 1872 to 1881 and a Republican U. S. Senator from 1881 to 1887 and again from 1895 until his death in 1901.


1. Whitman cut this letter into pieces and pasted it together with pieces from at least three other letters. See the letters from Whitelaw Reid to Whitman of July 17, 1878, and from Richard J. Hinton to Whitman of September 10, 1871. Another partial letter, likely composed by the Canadian physician Richard Maurice Bucke, is visible on the left side of this image. [back]

2. Whitman received annual passes for rairoad travel during the early 1880s. See for example the letter from the Camden & Atlantic Railroad Company to Whitman of January 25, 1881. Given that Sewell's letter was sent in January, it may have included information concerning an annual pass for Whitman on the "WJ RRd" or the West Jersey Railroad. [back]


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