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Walt Whitman to Charles W. Eldridge, 7 May 1884

Charley, you would do me a special service if you could get & send me a good photo (or other picture) of Father Taylor, the old sailor preacher. I want it to be engraved for a magazine article1—Picture will be returned—also find out for me when Father T died—No particular hurry—but hope you will be able to help me soon as convenient—

I have had a bad spell nearly all the year—till ab't​ a month ago—when things turn'd​ favorably, & I am now about as usual with me—

With good old remembrances— Walt Whitman

Charles W. Eldridge (1837–1903) was one half of the Boston-based abolitionist publishing firm Thayer and Eldridge, who issued the 1860 edition of Leaves of Grass. In December 1862, on his way to find his injured brother George in Fredericksburg, Virginia, Whitman stopped in Washington and encountered Eldridge, who had become a clerk in the office of the army paymaster, Major Lyman Hapgood. Eldridge helped Whitman gain employment in Hapgood's office. For more on Whitman's relationship with Thayer and Eldridge, see David Breckenridge Donlon, "Thayer, William Wilde (1829–1896) and Charles W. Eldridge (1837–1903)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


  • 1. The article, "Father Taylor and Oratory," did not appear until 1887. Whitman heard Edward Thompson Taylor (1793–1871) preach in the Seaman's Chapel in Boston in 1860 (Gay Wilson Allen, The Solitary Singer [New York: Macmillan, 1955], 239). [back]
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