Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to William J. Linton, 8 May 1878

Date: May 8, 1878

Whitman Archive ID: yal.00426

Source: Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1964), 3:116–117. 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, Anthony Dreesen, Kevin McMullen, and Nicole Gray

431 Stevens Street
Camden New Jersey
May 8 '78

My dear Linton

I returned last evening from a jaunt to the country1—feel middling well again (about half-&-half)—after a bad spell during March & most of April—thought I was going to have a relapse to my old state, but the doctors say it was either only or mostly a bad case of rheumatism2—(the best point about which seems to be that if it be ever so bad a devil itself, it generally keeps the coast clear of all other devils)—However, I am better at this writing, & look forward to a tolerably fair summer—

The "Poetry of America" arrived, & I am well content & pleased with the part I am made to bear in it—Surely you have made a capital compilation & condensation—the best thing of its sort & size I have seen3

Our friends the Gilchrists have broken camp in Philadelphia, & gone (more or less temporarily) to Northampton, Mass:4—You will probably soon hear from (perhaps see) Herbert, the artist, the son—

I enclose a little printed slip—(or did I send it you before?)5—Since my late sick spell, it is not so likely the programme will be carried out6—but I want to go about somewhat this summer—

With Love—
Walt Whitman


1. In April, Whitman resumed his visits to the Staffords. He was at Kirkwood on April 20 and 21, April 25 to 27, May 1 and 2, and May 6 and 7 (Whitman's Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). [back]

2. Interestingly, Whitman did not repeat Dr. S. Weir Mitchell's diagnosis. See the letter from Whitman to Louisa Orr Whitman of April 13–14, 1878[back]

3. Linton, a wood engraver, published Poetry of America, 1776–1876 in London (G. Bell, 1878). The volume contained eight of Whitman's poems and Linton's engraving of the poet. See the letter from Whitman to Linton of March 22, 1872[back]

4. The Gilchrists had left Philadelphia evidently late in April, since apparently Whitman saw them for the last time in Philadelphia on the evening of April 22 and 23 (Whitman's Commonplace Book). [back]

5. Unquestionably "Walt Whitman for 1878," which appeared in the West Jersey Press of January 16, 1878, as noted in Whitman's Commonplace Book. [back]

6. The New York lecture on Lincoln's death. [back]


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