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Thomas Jefferson Whitman to Walt Whitman, 3 April 1860

Dear Brother Walt,

I have just now received yours of the 1st.1 I should have written to you before but when I left home a week ago yesterday Mother said she would write to you that day, and I believe she did, its singular that you have not received it

Everything remains abt. as usual with us Walt. Mother has taken the house and rented the lower part to a Mr "John Brown"2 @ $14 per month Mat and I keeping the same rooms as before.3 Andrew has been very sick but was getting better on Sunday when I was home. His disease commenced by a very violent pain in the side, kept up and made worse by an ignorent Dr. and those around him.4 Mother visited him most every day and kept his courage up

I am truly glad Walt, that you are comfortably situated and the more so that you are having things done to suit you in the way of publishing your book. I quite long for it to make its appearence. What jolly times we will have reading the notices of it wont we. you must expect the "Yam Yam Yam" writer[s] to give you a dig as often as possible but I dont suppose you will mind it any more than you did in the days of your editorship of the B.[rooklyn] Eagle5 when the Advertiser['s] Lees6 used to go at you so roughly  Do you remember those days Walt.

I was at home as usual last Sunday but there was nothing new  we miss you very much of course. Mother speaks very often of her small family now and talks of one room and bedroom &c  Mattie remains the same, she has plenty to do and talks of getting a girl to do housework. I'm getting to be quite a family man aint I.7

When do you suppose you will get through and come home. Mother has heard from you several times and it does her a great deal of good.8 you must write her often and let me hear from you again before long. I shall write to you again presently, now as you will perceive I am rather hard up for something to write about.

Your affectionate Brother Jeff


  • 1. See Walt Whitman's letter to Thomas Jefferson Whitman dated April 1, 1860. [back]
  • 2. John Brown was a tailor whom Jeff came to despise; see Thomas Jefferson Whitman's letter to Walt Whitman dated March 3, 1863. [back]
  • 3. For an account of the family living arrangements, see Gay Wilson Allen, The Solitary Singer: A Critical Biography of Walt Whitman (New York: Macmillan, 1955; rev. ed., New York University Press, 1967), 216 and 239–40. [back]
  • 4. An alcoholic, Andrew would die of tuberculosis or perhaps throat cancer on December 3, 1863, the dupe of unscrupulous doctors. [back]
  • 5. Walt Whitman enclosed the preceding three sentences in parentheses. [back]
  • 6. Henry A. Lees, publisher and editor of the Brooklyn Daily Advertiser, was one of several Whig editors with whom Walt Whitman had feuded over political questions, especially those involving the Mexican War. [back]
  • 7. Jeff's first daughter, Manahatta ("Hattie"), would be born on June 1860. [back]
  • 8. These letters are not extant. [back]
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