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James Scovel to Walt Whitman, 15 August 1885

 loc.03745.001_large.jpg Dear Walt,

I send you a fish caught at "Anglesea"1 at 2 PM today by Harned & myself.2 We have just arrived home after a good time, although I got knocked off the boat—struck  loc.03745.003_large.jpg over the head with the "boom"—and knocked over into twelve feet water—whence I had to swim ashore—of course it all ended well—and all's well that ends well although I got an awful blow between the eye. I go early in the morning (Sunday) to see Mary—my wife at Atlantic—but Monday will see you at 7. Expect to be home a good deal next week—Tom sends Love. Regards to Mrs Davis3

Tenderly JM Scovel  loc.03745.002_large.jpg

PS One of the "Press" Men came up with us and told me at the train that the Syndicate article wd​ be in Sunday's Press. Ordered the Tribunes for you4

—JMS  loc.03745.004_large.jpg

James Matlack Scovel (1833–1904) began to practice law in Camden in 1856. During the Civil War, he was in the New Jersey legislature and became a colonel in 1863. He campaigned actively for Horace Greeley in 1872, and was a special agent for the U.S. Treasury during Chester Arthur's administration. In the 1870s, Whitman frequently went to Scovel's home for Sunday breakfast (Whitman's Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). For a description of these breakfasts, see Walt Whitman's Diary in Canada, ed. William Sloane Kennedy (Boston: Small, Maynard, 1904), 59–60. For Scovel, see George R. Prowell's The History of Camden County, New Jersey (Philadelphia: L. J. Richards, 1886).


  • 1. A seaside borough in New Jersey, renamed North Wildwood in 1907, located in the southern part of the state. [back]
  • 2. Thomas Biggs Harned (1851–1921) was one of Whitman's literary executors. Harned was a lawyer in Philadelphia and, having married Augusta Anna Traubel, was Horace Traubel's brother-in-law. For more on him, see Dena Mattausch, "Harned, Thomas Biggs (1851–1921)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]
  • 3. Mary Oakes Davis (1837 or 1838–1908) was Whitman's housekeeper. For more, see Carol J. Singley, "Davis, Mary Oakes (1837 or 1838–1908)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]
  • 4. Perhaps a reference to Whitman's "Booth and the Old Bowery," published in Allen Thorndike Rice's New York Tribune on August 16, 1885. [back]
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