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Walt Whitman to Herbert Gilchrist, 10 May 1878

 upa.00067.001_large.jpg Dear Herbert

Your good letter reach'd me yesterday—& I dont wonder you like, & are exhilarated by, New York & Brooklyn—They are the places to live.

—I was down at White Horse Monday & Tuesday last—expect to go down again Sunday—Just as I left your letter to Mrs S. arrived—All were about as usual—Nothing very new with me—I am only middling well, but go about—rheumatism not yet subdued—threatens to partially disable my right arm—(this writing probably shows it)2—I am interested in what you say of Eaton3 and the sculptor O'Donavan4 (is it?)—should like to hear more about them—About the  upa.00067.002_large.jpg mulleins5 & bumble-bees I should like to have them as soon as convenient

Pleas'd to hear that you go around with the New York artists, designers, young fellows, & folk in the picture trade, publishing, &c—I think with the superb foundation you have it will be just the thing for you, fetch you up & make you aware what's going at latest advices, &c. which is very desirable—

There is a book "Stories from Homer,"6 just published by Harpers—It is much praised in high quarters—I have wondered whether it doesn't contain the hint-suggestion of what your mother should do with the V Hugo translations—You might look at the book in the book stores—

I have written a few lines to your mother to-day—Write soon Herby & tell me all about your moves, & about the artists you meet &c

W W  loc.02166.001.jpg  loc.02166.002.jpg


  • 1. The envelope for this letter bears the address: Herbert H Gilchrist | Care of Mrs Voorhees | 147 Remsen Street | Brooklyn | New York. It is postmarked: Camden | May | 10 | N.J.; Brooklyn, N.Y. | May | 11 | 8 AM | Rec'd. [back]
  • 2. The rheumatism had little discernible effect upon Whitman's handwriting. [back]
  • 3. Wyatt Eaton (1849–1896), an American portrait and figure painter, organized the Society of American Artists in 1877. Whitman met Eaton at a reception given by Richard W. Gilder on June 14; see "A Poet's Recreation," New York Tribune, July 4, and Walt Whitman's Diary in Canada, ed. William Sloane Kennedy (Boston: Small, Maynard & Company, 1904), 54. [back]
  • 4. William Rudolph O'Donovan (1844–1920) was an American sculptor. He was an associate of American artist Thomas Eakins and accompanied Eakins to Whitman's Camden home and fashioned a large bust of Whitman. Whitman liked O'Donovan but did not care for the bust, which he found "too hunched" and the head "too broad" (Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Wednesday, July 15, 1891). [back]
  • 5. See the discussion of mulleins in Specimen Days (Floyd Stovall, ed. [New York: New York University Press, 1963], 148–149). [back]
  • 6. By Alfred J. Church (1829–1912), a prolific translator. The edition referred to has not been found. [back]
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