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Walt Whitman to Thomas Jefferson Whitman, 6 September 1886


I hardly know what to say to you and Jess in your fearful affliction—will not attempt any of the usual consolations1

I suppose Lou is there, as she wished to start Saturday night—& I havn't heard since. Dear, dear Hatta—

—I am ab't as usual—have got thro' the summer pretty well—

Walt Whitman  mhs.00021.002_large.jpg

Thomas Jefferson Whitman (1833–1890), known as "Jeff," was Walt Whitman's favorite brother. As a civil engineer, Jeff eventually became Superintendent of Water Works in St. Louis and a nationally recognized figure. For more on Jeff, see Randall Waldron, "Whitman, Thomas Jefferson (1833–1890)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


  • 1. Mannahatta (Hattie) Whitman, the poet's niece, died on September 3 and was buried three days later (Whitman's Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). George Whitman's wife Louisa went to St. Louis to be with Jeff and his daughter Jessie Louisa. [back]
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