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Walt Whitman to Robert Pearsall Smith, 6 November [1884]

My dear friend

I should like to come over Saturday, be there about noon—will come up in the horse cars—will spend some hours with Mr. Clifford, & if you come home early enough, and the weather good, we may have a (longer or shorter) drive, before supper—will leave the question of my stopping over Sunday, open.

Walt Whitman

Robert Pearsall Smith (1827–1898) was a Quaker who became an evangelical minister associated with the "Holiness movement." He was also a writer and businessman. Whitman often stayed at his Philadelphia home, where the poet became friendly with the Smith children—Mary, Logan, and Alys. For more information about Smith, see Christina Davey, "Smith, Robert Pearsall (1827–1898)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


  • 1. Edwin Haviland Miller, working from a transcript of this letter, identified the correspondent (see The Correspondence [New York: New York University Press, 1964], 3:380). Whitman stayed at Smith's Germantown home from November 8 to 10 (Whitman's Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). Edward Clifford made a drawing of Whitman on November 3 (Whitman's Commonplace Book). [back]
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