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Walt Whitman to John H. Johnston, 21 July 1885

 loc_vm.01687_large.jpg Dear friend

The watch (a beauty)—the knives & forks & the china ware all reach'd me safely this afternoon2—thanks, thanks & best love—Of your letter every point & behest shall be obeyed—Fearfully hot day again—but I am standing it so far—am just going out for my evening sail on the Delaware. God bless you & yours.

Walt Whitman  loc_vm.01688_large.jpg  loc.02565.001_large.jpg  loc.02565.002_large.jpg

John H. Johnston (1837–1919) was a New York jeweler and close friend of Whitman. Johnston was also a friend of Joaquin Miller (Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Tuesday, August 14, 1888). Whitman visited the Johnstons for the first time early in 1877. In 1888 he observed to Horace Traubel: "I count [Johnston] as in our inner circle, among the chosen few" (Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Wednesday, October 3, 1888). See also Johnston's letter about Whitman, printed in Charles N. Elliot, Walt Whitman as Man, Poet and Friend (Boston: Richard G. Badger, 1915), 149–174. For more on Johnston, see Susan L. Roberson, "Johnston, John H. (1837–1919) and Alma Calder," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


  • 1. This letter is addressed: J H Johnston | Jeweler | 150 Bowery | Cor: Broome | New York City. It is postmarked: PHILADELPHIA | PA | JUL 21 85 | 8 30 PM. [back]
  • 2. Whitman noted receipt of these articles in his Commonplace Book on July 19. [back]
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