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John H. Johnston to Walt Whitman, 9 September 1885

 loc.02568.001_large.jpg Dear Walt:

Glad to hear from you once more.

Many thanks for the books you sent. I inclose $2.00 for the two and for the balance all the thanks you desire.

Do you mind telling me how much of a Mortgage there is on your house?

Alma1 is well. She goes with me tonight to see Robson & Crane in the Comedy of Errors.2

Sincerely yours J H Johnston  loc.02568.002_large.jpg see notes July 5 1891

John H. Johnston (1837–1919) was a New York jeweler and close friend of Whitman. Johnston was also a friend of Joaquin Miller (Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Tuesday, August 14, 1888). Whitman visited the Johnstons for the first time early in 1877. In 1888 he observed to Horace Traubel: "I count [Johnston] as in our inner circle, among the chosen few" (Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Wednesday, October 3, 1888). See also Johnston's letter about Whitman, printed in Charles N. Elliot, Walt Whitman as Man, Poet and Friend (Boston: Richard G. Badger, 1915), 149–174. For more on Johnston, see Susan L. Roberson, "Johnston, John H. (1837–1919) and Alma Calder," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


  • 1. Alma Calder Johnston was an author and the second wife of John H. Johnston. [back]
  • 2. Stuart Robson (1836–1903) and William Henry Crane (1845–1928) were American stage actors and long-time collaborators. Their Broadway adaptation of Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors was perhaps their most successful act. [back]
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