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Mrs. J. S. Harris to Walt Whitman, 22 February 1891

Dear Sir,

I have always felt that you were a relative of mine, and on the strength of that, am going to ask for your autograph. My mother was a Whitman of Bangor, has relations in Mass. and N.J. by that name, and the late Judge Whitman2 of Portland was also a relative. Do you belong to that family of Whitmans.

Yrs very truly, Mrs J.S. Harris. Cumberland Centre, ME  Pa110907.jpg  Pa110906.jpg

As yet we have no information about this correspondent.


  • 1. Whitman has crossed out the text of this letter. [back]
  • 2. Ezekiel Whitman (1776–1866) was a State Representative of both Massachusetts and Maine. For nearly thirty years, Ezekiel Whitman was a judge, ultimately serving as Chief Justice of the Maine Supreme Court. Though there is not yet enough information on how Mrs. J. S. Harris is related to Walt Whitman, Ezekiel Whitman's relation to the poet is very distant, with a shared sixteenth century ancestor, Abijah Whitman (1560–1626), making him Walt's sixth cousin, once removed. For more information on Ezekiel Whitman, see "Whitman, Ezekial," Biographical Encyclopedia of Maine of the Nineteenth Century (Boston: Metropolitan Publishing & Engraving Company, 1885), 347–351. An avid genealogist, Ezekiel Whitman published Memoir of John Whitman and His Descendants in 1832, that traced his genealogy through Abijah Whitman's son John, who came to the American Colonies in 1635 and settled in Weymouth, Massachusetts. For Whitman's account of his ancestry, including Abijah and his sons, see Whitman's "Genealogy—Van Velsor and Whitman," Specimen Days and Collect (Philadelphia: David McKay, 1882), 9. [back]
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