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Thérèse C. Simpson and Elizabeth J. Scott Moncrieff to Walt Whitman, 30 March 1876

 loc.01899.001_large.jpg My dear Walt Whitman,

We are so sorry to hear you are so ill, & we long to help you. You have done so much for us, your "Leaves of Grass" have been a real Bible to us, full of hope for our poor human race & especially for the help you have given to our half of humanity,  loc.01899.002_large.jpg namely the Women. It is about 3 years now since we found you, & you have been a dear & cherished friend ever since, at first secretly because of the Jews but we can dare to speak now more openly of our prophet.

It is so painful to us to hear of so dear a friend  loc.01899.003_large.jpg being in trouble, we sh.d​ like to go over & nurse you. But we cannot, one of us is busy with professional engagements; & the other cannot leave her mother. We are sending this to your friend & champion Rosetti​ 1 as we do not know your address. Dear Walt Whitman  loc.01899.004_large.jpg pray accept the warmest sympathy from two grateful Scotch Women.2

Thérèse C. Simpson & Elizabeth J. Scott Moncrieff 1 Alva St. Edinburgh.

P.S. I once wrote to you before, but I fear you may not have got the letter—it was about Xmas, 2 years ago.3


As yet we have no information about these correspondents.


  • 1. William Michael Rossetti (1829–1915), brother of Dante Gabriel and Christina Rossetti, was an English editor and a champion of Whitman's work. In 1868, Rossetti edited Whitman's Poems, selected from the 1867 Leaves of Grass. Whitman referred to Rossetti's edition as a "horrible dismemberment of my book" in his August 12, 1871, letter to Frederick S. Ellis. Nonetheless, the edition provided a major boost to Whitman's reputation, and Rossetti would remain a staunch supporter for the rest of Whitman's life, drawing in subscribers to the 1876 Leaves of Grass and fundraising for Whitman in England. For more on Whitman's relationship with Rossetti, see Sherwood Smith, "Rossetti, William Michael (1829–1915)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]
  • 2. Walt Whitman sent Two Rivulets directly to Simpson on April 23, 1876, and Leaves of Grass on June 12, 1876 (Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). [back]
  • 3. This letter has not been located. [back]
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