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Walt Whitman to Susan Stafford, 1 April 1890


Bright sunshiny day—feels Spring—but I am suffering from the grip—it has caught me at last—am sitting here alone in my den.—nothing very new or different to write about.—I wish you w'd carry or send over this note to Eva2—I often think of them all—I rec'd y'r good letter & thank'd you over & over for sending.—I keep at it yet (as I must while away the time some how—it is pretty heavy here crippled here this way, week after week)—write a little—expect to speak my "Death of Abraham Lincoln" piece3 in Phila: April 15 (if I am well enough)—

Best love to you & George4 & Ed5 & all— Walt Whitman  loc_jc.00427_large.jpg  loc_jc.00434_large.jpg  loc_jc.00435_large.jpg

Susan M. Lamb Stafford (1833–1910) was the mother of Harry Stafford (1858–1918), who, in 1876, became a close friend of Whitman while working at the printing office of the Camden New Republic. Whitman regularly visited the Staffords at their family farm near Kirkwood, New Jersey. Whitman enjoyed the atmosphere and tranquility that the farm provided and would often stay for weeks at a time (see David G. Miller, "Stafford, George and Susan M.," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings [New York: Garland Publishing, 1998], 685).


  • 1. This letter is addressed: Mrs: Susan Stafford | Kirkwood | (Glendale) | New Jersey. It is postmarked: Camde[illegible] | Apr 1 | 8PM | 90; [illegible] | Apr | 2 | 1890 | N.J. [back]
  • 2. Eva Westcott Stafford (1856–1906) had married Susan's Stafford's son Harry in 1883; she was Susan's daughter-in-law. [back]
  • 3. Whitman first delivered this lecture in New York in 1879 and would deliver it at least eight other times over the succeeding years, delivering it for the last time on April 15, 1890. He published a version of the lecture as "Death of Abraham Lincoln" in Specimen Days & Collect (1882–83). For more on the lecture, see Larry D. Griffin, "'Death of Abraham Lincoln,'" Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings, ed., (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]
  • 4. George Stafford (1827–1892) was Susan's husband. [back]
  • 5. Edwin Stafford (1856–1906) was one of Susan Stafford's sons. [back]
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