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George Rush Jr. to Walt Whitman, 13 February 1890

 loc.03562.001.jpg Dear Walt Whitman

During my travels so far away from home; I have often thought of you and especially so when crossing the same territory that you at one time traversed.2

But you would scarcely know it now, in fact while now in the centre of the U.S. I enjoy the same elegant meals & comforts that would surround me in your city & how happy would I be could I now instead of writing you, just walk as once before into your grand presence & explain the interesting parts of my  loc.03562.002.jpg  loc.03562.005.jpg late travels together with the immense success I am on all hands meeting with

You I feel will be happy to learn of my success and which is added to occasionally (as while here) with an $800.00 order, I continue west to Denver & Leadville and upon my return during the summer I ask again the pleasure of seeing you when I shall remember you with some thing from the great West in happy memory of your kind attention to me through Mr Wm Ingram3 who I write occasionally & who kindly answers me & assures me of your good health

 loc.03562.006.jpg  loc.03562.007.jpg

After my long confinement4 which in my case & very many others was a gross injustice upon free men I enjoy the varied & grand sight now ever so much and while Beer & music is yet one of my standards & enjoyed by all the West We dont have to go to Prison three years for enjoying thence out here nor should we either in Philada "That Dog Stokley"5 I could laugh while they were hanging the scoundrel while to you & Mr Ingram I return my true & sincere love—

Your Friend Forever Geo Rush jr  loc.03562.008.jpg  loc.03562.003_zs.jpg Geo Rush Jr  loc_tb.00191.jpg

Little is known about George Rush, Jr. When William Ingram called on August 3, Whitman gave Ingram a copy of Specimen Days for Rush, who was then in prison in Bucks Country, Pennsylvania (Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). Ingram's letter of August 10, 1888 reported how gratified Rush was to receive the gift.


  • 1. This letter is addressed: Walt Whitman Esq | Camden | #328 Mickel St | N.J. It is postmarked: [illegible]an City | [illegible] | 14 | [illegible] | Train; Camden, N.J. | Feb | 15 | 4 PM | 1890 | Rec'd. [back]
  • 2. Rush is referring to Whitman's first and only western excursion between September 10, 1879–January 5, 1880. See Walter H. Eitner, Walt Whitman's Western Jaunt (Lawrence: The Regents Press of Kansas, 1981). [back]
  • 3. William Ingram, a Quaker, kept a tea store—William Ingram and Son Tea Dealers—in Philadelphia. Of Ingram, Whitman observed to Horace Traubel: "He is a man of the Thomas Paine stripe—full of benevolent impulses, of radicalism, of the desire to alleviate the sufferings of the world—especially the sufferings of prisoners in jails, who are his protégés" (Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Sunday, May 20, 1888). Ingram and his wife visited the physician Richard Maurice Bucke and his family in Canada in 1890. [back]
  • 4. Rush, alias "Buck Taylor," was arrested on March 22, 1881, by Philadelphia police officer Albert R. Jones for burglary at Charles Foley's establishment on North Seventh Street. Jones had been appointed to the police department by Mayor William Stokley (see Howard O. Sprogle, The Philadelphia Police, Past and Present [Philadelphia, 1887], 357). [back]
  • 5. William Strumberg Stokley (1823–1902), a Republican, was the mayor of Philadelphia from 1872 to 1881; his administration was marked by charges of major corruption in the way contracts were issued for the construction of a new city hall, including Stokley's acquisition of a new home courtesy of the building contractors. Many Republicans stopped supporting him, and he lost the 1881 election to Democrat Samuel G. King. [back]
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