Skip to main content

Harry Stafford to Walt Whitman, 4 October 1877

 loc_vm.00105.jpg Dear Walt

I don't think I will get to come to Camden this week but will be down on Saturday week if nothing happens more than I know of at present.1 Ed2 has gon​ to the City to day​ and I have to tend for him and Ben wishes to go to the City on Saturday so I will have to be at the station and will not get off until the  loc_vm.00108.jpg  loc_vm.00106.jpg train will be gon​ so I will have to stay home. I want to come bad dont know how I will stay away. I want you to have some place to go when I come down some place where there is plenty of girls. I want to have some fun when I come down this time.

All well at home father went away with Ed today. Debbie is away to her Aunts.

Ever yours H. Stafford  loc_vm.00107.jpg  loc_vm.00219.jpg  loc_vm.00220.jpg


  • 1. Walt Whitman met the 18-year-old Harry Lamb Stafford (1858–1918) in 1876, beginning a relationship which was almost entirely overlooked by early Whitman scholarship, in part because Stafford's name appears nowhere in the first six volumes of Horace Traubel's With Walt Whitman in Camden—though it does appear frequently in the last three volumes, which were published only in the 1990s. Whitman occasionally referred to Stafford as "My (adopted) son" (as in a December 13, 1876, letter to John H. Johnston), but the relationship between the two also had a romantic, erotic charge to it. In 1883, Harry married Eva Westcott. For further discussion of Stafford, see Arnie Kantrowitz, "Stafford, Harry L. (b.1858)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]
  • 2. Edwin Stafford (1856–1906) was Harry Stafford's brother. [back]
Back to top