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Walt Whitman to Mary Whitall Smith Costelloe, 15 October 1889


Feeling a sort of impalpable nudge I send a line but what for I don't know, for there is nothing to write ab't—only the fact of writing to you if that is anything—Here I am in my den as for a year & a half, but not so much different or given out yet—My sleeping & appetite yet hold fair—you know I am along now in my 71st—

Love to you all— Walt Whitman  loc.01387.001_large.jpg

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: Mary Whitall Costelloe | 40 Grosvenor Road | the Embankment | London England | SW. It is postmarked: Camden, N.J. | Oct 15 | 8 PM | 89; Philadelphia, Pa. | Oct (?) | 8 PM | Paid. There is an additional postmark, but only the time of "8 PM" is visible. [back]
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