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Walt Whitman to Richard Maurice Bucke, 3 March 1888

Your letter from NY has come & is satisfactory ab't the W[orthington] proceeding2—Nothing new or special—A bright day & several visitors. Messrs Ingram3 and Logue4 were much taken with y'r talk, impression, presence &c.


Richard Maurice Bucke (1837–1902) was a Canadian physician and psychiatrist who grew close to Whitman after reading Leaves of Grass in 1867 (and later memorizing it) and meeting the poet in Camden a decade later. Even before meeting Whitman, Bucke claimed in 1872 that a reading of Leaves of Grass led him to experience "cosmic consciousness" and an overwhelming sense of epiphany. Bucke became the poet's first biographer with Walt Whitman (Philadelphia: David McKay, 1883), and he later served as one of his medical advisors and literary executors. For more on the relationship of Bucke and Whitman, see Howard Nelson, "Bucke, Richard Maurice," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


  • 1. This letter is addressed: Dr R M Bucke | Asylum | London | Ontario Canada. It is postmarked: Camden, N.J. | Mar 3 | 4 30 PM | 88. [back]
  • 2. See Whitman's letter to Bucke of April 8, 1888. [back]
  • 3. William Ingram, a Quaker, kept a tea store—William Ingram and Son Tea Dealers—in Philadelphia. Of Ingram, Whitman observed to Horace Traubel: "He is a man of the Thomas Paine stripe—full of benevolent impulses, of radicalism, of the desire to alleviate the sufferings of the world—especially the sufferings of prisoners in jails, who are his protégés" (Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Sunday, May 20, 1888). Ingram and his wife visited the physician Richard Maurice Bucke and his family in Canada in 1890. [back]
  • 4. Samuel Loag was a Philadelphia printer and friend of Whitman's New York jeweler friend J. H. Johnston, as well as an acquaintance of Horace Traubel (see Edward F. Grier, ed., Notebooks and Unpublished Prose Manuscripts, [New York: New York University Press, 1984], 2:819, where Whitman corrects his misspelling of Loag's name as "Logue"). See also Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Tuesday, January 22, 1889. [back]
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