Selected Criticism

Donaldson, Thomas (1843–1898)
Schroeder, Steven
Print source:
J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings, eds., Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998), reproduced by permission.

Thomas Donaldson was a Philadelphia attorney who authored a number of government documents on American Indians and the law of public domain as it related to the American West. Whitman noted meeting Donaldson, then an agent for the Smithsonian Institute, on 10 October 1882. He characterized him as "my stout, gentlemanly friend, free talker" (356). Whitman met Bram Stoker at Donaldson's house in 1884 and visited with Stoker again in 1885 when Donaldson accompanied Stoker to the poet's residence in Camden. Donaldson secured annual ferry passes for Whitman that made it possible for him to range beyond Camden to Philadelphia in spite of his reduced mobility. After the winter of 1884–1885, when Donaldson realized that Whitman had become almost house-bound, he was instrumental in raising money for a horse and buggy with which he surprised him in 1885. He was a pallbearer at Whitman's funeral in 1892.


Donaldson, Thomas. Walt Whitman the Man. New York: Harper, 1896.

Whitman, Walt. The Correspondence. Ed. Edwin Haviland Miller. Vol. 3. New York: New York UP, 1964.


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