Skip to main content

Walt Whitman to Richard Monckton Milnes, Lord Houghton, 20 June 1885

 loc.02332.001_large.jpg Dear old friend

If convenience helps I want to present two American girls, sisters, Mary Whitall and Alys Smith, of Quaker stock[,] special personal friends of mine—to you—They are traveling in Europe with their parents—Mary can tell you all about my perplexing self to latest dates2

Walt Whitman

To Lord Houghton

 loc.02332.002_large.jpg  loc.02332.003_large.jpg  loc.02332.004_large.jpg

Richard Monckton Milnes (1809–1885), Lord Houghton, was an intimate of Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809–1892) and William Makepeace Thackeray (1811–1863), as well as a poet. He was a collector of famous people; in Dictionary of National Biography he is characterized as "eminently a dilettante." Houghton wrote to Joaquin Miller on September 1, 1875, from Chicago: "Please give my best regards to Mr Whitman." On September 5, 1875, Miller informed Whitman that he was trying to arrange a meeting with Lord Houghton. Houghton himself wrote to Whitman on September 27, 1875, and proposed a visit at the end of October or early in November, and on November 3, 1875, he asked whether November 6 would be convenient. See Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden (1906–1996), Thursday, June 21, 1888, 364, and Wednesday, September 12th, 1888, 310; In Re Walt Whitman (1893), ed. Horace L. Traubel, Richard Maurice Bucke, and Thomas B. Harned, 36; and Harold Blodgett, Walt Whitman in England (1934), 141–143.


  • 1. This letter is addressed: "Lord Houghton." [back]
  • 2. The Smiths sailed on June 24 and arrived in England on July 3. When Mary called on June 20 (Whitman's Commonplace Book), Whitman undoubtedly gave her this letter of introduction. [back]
Back to top