Skip to main content

Walt Whitman to John Burroughs, 20 August [1879]

Dear John Burroughs,

Postal of 18th just rec'd​ , & glad enough to hear from you all—the interval has been a long one—I supposed you were off some where—

Nothing special with me—After I returned from N Y middle of June, went down to my Jersey farm friends a couple of weeks—but they have moved into a new place, superior for their purposes, but to me the attraction had ceased, & I left—Otherwise have been here in Camden all summer (I feel now as though I ought to have gone up & room'd in your house & boarded with Smith1 the last two months)—I still keep well—about the same as when you last saw me—may be a trifle ruggeder yet—

All here well—I enclose you two letters from Mrs Gilchrist2 in England, & one from my friend Mrs Botta,3 may interest you—I shall send you papers to-morrow—Weather fine yesterday & to-day here—& I am out enjoying it—(after fair4 days of pouring rain)

I often see your name, & extracts, (sometimes quite long ones) in the papers hereabouts—

Love to 'Sula—

Walt Whitman

That Del:​ river boat trip? Did it come off? You know I have heard nothing about it since5


  • 1. Burrough's hired hand, Smith Caswell. [back]
  • 2. Anne Gilchrist's letters of June 20, 1879 from Glasgow, and August 2, 1879 from Durham, where her son Percy was living. Both were letters about her travels and various points of interest (The Letters of Anne Gilchrist and Walt Whitman, ed. Thomas B. Harned [New York: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1918], 181–185). [back]
  • 3. The poet and sculptor Anne Charlotte Lynch Botta (see the letters from Whitman to Botta of May 13, 1871 and June 6, 1871). John Burroughs informed Clara Barrus that Whitman attended some of Botta's receptions (Barrus, Whitman and Burroughs—Comrades [Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1931], 186). Whitman sent Botta a photograph and a copy of Democratic Vistas on July 20 (Whitman's Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). [back]
  • 4. Whitman undoubtedly intended to write "four" or "five." He noted "rainy days & nights" in his Commonplace Book from August 16 to 18. [back]
  • 5. See the letter from Whitman to John Burroughs of June 20, 1879. On August 24 Burroughs described his trip on the Delaware River late in June (Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Thursday, December 6, 1888, 260). [back]
Back to top