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Walt Whitman to Harry and Eva Stafford, 9 June 1885

 loc_vm.00255_large.jpg Dear Harry & Dear Eva

I am still badly lamed by my turned ankle of six or seven weeks ago—otherwise about as good health as usual—Am much pleased at the nice little home & interested in the printing office venture—all right—But think twice about the monthly periodical project—

Nothing specially new with  loc_vm.00256_large.jpgme—I like my new house lady, Mrs. Davis—Eva, dear girl, when you come up to Camden for a day, come here & make your headquarters—I am sure you will like it, & be contented,—as we should gladly be—

Harry, dear son, how is that throat?

God bless both of you—& a good kiss for each

from W W  loc_vm.00257_large.jpg  loc_vm.00258_large.jpg

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).

Eva Westcott married Harry Stafford in 1884.

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