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Walt Whitman to Susan Stafford, 1 June [1887]


No Herbert2 yet, but he is in N Y city & I look for him every hour—Nothing new with me—Rainy & mild here this forenoon—How are you getting along?

—I am not very well—Kind o' half & half—I shall be driving down (for two or three hours) soon as the roads are good3

Walt Whitman  loc_jc.00573_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 postal card is addressed: Mrs: Susan Stafford | Kirkwood | (Glendale) | New Jersey. It is postmarked: Camden, N.J. | Jun 1 | 1 30 PM | 87. [back]
  • 2. Herbert Harlakenden Gilchrist (1857–1914), son of Alexander and Anne Gilchrist, was an English painter and editor of Anne Gilchrist: Her Life and Writings (London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1887). For more information, see Marion Walker Alcaro, "Gilchrist, Herbert Harlakenden (1857–1914)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]
  • 3. On this date Whitman recorded the following in his Commonplace Book: "To day I begin my 69th year—almost altogether disabled in walking power & bodily movement—writing & composition power fair—hand-writing power pretty good—appetite fair—sleep fair to middling, not markedly bad, & not really good—weigh 200 over—. . . I sit in the big arm chair nearly all the time—read & (partially) write much or rather most of the time—Sidney Morse here sculping the full length sitting figure in rocking chair from life—seems to me I like it well—O'Connor in So: California, sick—frequent visitors & some dear friends call to see me—" (Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). A photograph of the sculpture is the frontispiece to Traubel's third volume of With Walt Whitman in Camden. [back]
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