Skip to main content

Walt Whitman to Richard Maurice Bucke, 31 August 1890


All well as usual—fine day cool—a quiet day—Have I sent the enc'd before2?—If not I tho't you might like to have them—Have had my supper—roast beef & cold slaw—ate with appetite—grip continued—last day of summer—have been looking over old reminiscent letters rec'd War times—

Walt Whitman  loc_zs.00092.jpg  loc_zs.00093.jpg

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 Bucke | Asylum | London | Ontario | Canada. It is postmarked: [illegible] | SEP 1 | 6AM | 90; N.Y. | 9–1–90 | 11 AM | 9; London | AM | SP 2 | Canada. [back]
  • 2. We have not been able to identify the enclosures that Whitman included with this letter. [back]
Back to top