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Walt Whitman to Thomas Jefferson Whitman, 7 September [1886]


I think every hour of the day, (& night too when awake) of Hattie—& of how it must be there with you & Jess1—but keep on much the same, with my doings & affairs—

—I know well enough, dear brother, how gloomy & blank all must be to you & Jess.

—I wish I could do something to help—

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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.). Jess is Jessie Louisa, Jeff's other daughter. [back]
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