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Walt Whitman to Peter Doyle, 29 May [1874]


Much the same with me since you left. Had an easier day yesterday—but down again to-day.

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Peter Doyle (1843–1907) was one of Walt Whitman's closest comrades and lovers, and their friendship spanned nearly thirty years. The two met in 1865 when the twenty-one-year-old Doyle was a conductor in the horsecar where the forty-five-year-old Whitman was a passenger. Despite his status as a veteran of the Confederate Army, Doyle's uneducated, youthful nature appealed to Whitman. Although Whitman's stroke in 1873 and subsequent move from Washington to Camden limited the time the two could spend together, their relationship rekindled in the mid-1880s after Doyle moved to Philadelphia and visited nearby Camden frequently. After Whitman's death, Doyle permitted Richard Maurice Bucke to publish the letters Whitman had sent him. For more on Doyle and his relationship with Whitman, see Martin G. Murray, "Doyle, Peter," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


  • 1. This postcard is addressed: Peter Doyle | M st. South. bet 4½ & 6th | Washington, D.C. It is postmarked: Camden | May | 29 | N.J. Doyle's visit to Whitman in May 1874 makes the date certain (see the letter from Whitman to Doyle of May 22). [back]
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