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Charles Hine to Walt Whitman, 17 June 1868

 loc.01729.001.jpg My dear Walt,

Your letter of inquiry and of the good old feeling has this moment reached me. I hasten to reply, and with hearty thanks for your generous favor, report for the second time that the Books,2 letter, and paper3 reached me promptly.

I replied immediately4 thanking you as I do now for your kindness—Be assured of the high estimate I place upon your gift, and the glowing thoughts to which you have given utterance.


"Leaves Of Grass" forever! Your heart can never cease to beat.

Immortal friend and benefactor, God bless you. My heart warms towards Mr. Burroughs5 for his friendly words. I know I should love to meet him.

Don't fail my dear friend to call on me when you come to New York.

Mrs Hine6 thanks you for your remembrance, also the little girl Lucy.7 I have now two sons, one four, and the youngest not quite a year old. Mrs H has grown stout like yourself, and now weighs two hundred pounds. She and the children  loc.01729.003.jpg are in the country. "When Lilacs Last In The Door Yard Bloomed,"8 pleases me so much that I read it over every day or two with increased interest. My dear old friend I love you—I shall be proud to hear from you at all times, and quick to reply—

Charles Hine


My picture, of which I sent you a notice will rest in somnolence during the summer.


 loc.01729.004.jpg  loc.01729.005.jpg Charles Hine 1868  loc.01729.006.jpg

Charles Hine (1827–1871) was a portrait and figure painter best known for his nude figure entitled Sleep. Hine did an early oil painting of Walt Whitman, which served as the basis for Stephen Alonzo Schoff's engraving of the poet for Leaves of Grass (1860).


  • 1. This letter is addressed: Walt Whitman, | Washington, | D.C—. It is postmarked: New York | JUN | 18; CARRIER | JUN | 19 | 2 P.M. [back]
  • 2. Whitman included the following in his letter to Hine of May 9, 1868: the latest edition of Leaves of Grass (1867), Notes on Walt Whitman, As Poet and Person (1867), and an article written by Richard J. Hinton from the Rochester Evening Express. [back]
  • 3. Whitman had recently mentioned Hinton's article in his April 28–May 4, 1868, letter to his mother Louisa Van Velsor Whitman. [back]
  • 4. This letter has not been located. [back]
  • 5. The naturalist John Burroughs (1837–1921) met Whitman on the streets of Washington, D.C., in 1864. After returning to Brooklyn in 1864, Whitman commenced what was to become a decades-long correspondence with Burroughs. Burroughs was magnetically drawn to Whitman. However, the correspondence between the two men is, as Burroughs acknowledged, curiously "matter-of-fact." Burroughs would write several books involving or devoted to Whitman's work: Notes on Walt Whitman, as Poet and Person (1867), Birds and Poets (1877), Whitman, A Study (1896), and Accepting the Universe (1924). For more on Whitman's relationship with Burroughs, see Carmine Sarracino, "Burroughs, John [1837–1921] and Ursula [1836–1917]," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]
  • 6. Caroline P. Woodman Hine (1833–1903) was the wife of Charles Hine (1827–1871). [back]
  • 7. Lucy is one of the daughters of the artist Charles (1827–1871) and his wife Caroline P. Woodman Hine (1833–1903). [back]
  • 8. Whitman's poem, "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd." For more on the poem, see R. W. French, "'When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd' [1865]," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]
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