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Walt Whitman to Mary Whitall Smith Costelloe, 13 December 1886

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Here I am, still, dear friend, & nothing new or special—the last week I was quite ill again, but am on the mend yesterday and to-day—Your good father comes to see me often,2 & Logan paid me a nice visit yesterday3—Your letter of Nov. 12 has been read & re-read, & quite gone the rounds—much admired—I send you "My Book & I," in print—

Walt Whitman

Mary Whitall Smith Costelloe (1864–1945) was a political activist, art historian, and critic, whom Whitman once called his "staunchest living woman friend." A scholar of Italian Renaissance art and a daughter of Robert Pearsall Smith, she would in 1885 marry B. F. C. "Frank" Costelloe. She had been in contact with many of Whitman's English friends and would travel to Britain in 1885 to visit many of them, including Anne Gilchrist shortly before her death. For more, see Christina Davey, "Costelloe, Mary Whitall Smith (1864–1945)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


  • 1. This postal card is addressed: Mrs: Costelloe | 40 Grosvenor Road | the Embankment | London England. It is postmarked: CAMDEN | DEC | 13 | 4 30 PM | 18(?) | N.J. [back]
  • 2. On December 22 Whitman noted in his Commonplace Book: "Kind visits from R P Smith—liberal & kind gifts." [back]
  • 3. Logan was Mary's brother. [back]
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