Skip to main content

Walt Whitman to Ellen M. O'Connor, 29 June [1871]

Dear Nelly,

I will just write you a line to let you know I am here in Brooklyn, & well & hearty. Mother is well as usual, & sends love to you & William, & to Jeannie. My sister Martha at St. Louis was not in good health at last accounts.

Helen Price was here & spent part of the day—She is looking finely—they are all as usual—it was John Arnold2 that died—he was a complete wreck—death was a boon & relief in the case—

I have heard from Mrs. Howells3—I have seen Beulah,4 she is a fine young woman, a handsome healthy blonde—she is at the fine establishment of Wilcox & Gibbs,5 on Broadway—her sister Lou is married—I shall soon see Mrs. Howells, & then I will tell you further—Beulah asked much about you & William, and Jeannie—

Nothing special with me or my affairs. As it turns out, my death by railroad smash permeated the lower orders, (I suppose at second & third hand) & the rectification in many cases never reached them. So I hardly stir out in New York, but what I am called upon to certify, &c.—

I am daily on the water here—it is inspiriting, & surpassingly beautiful—Every fine day the bay swarms with yachts, large & small—they are literally in scores—I never tire of looking on them—All the young fellows yacht here—

Dear William, how are you? and dear Charles Eldridge, how are you? My true love to you both—Jeannie, my darling, a kiss for you—good bye, Nelly dear—



  • 1. This letter is endorsed: "Ans'd." Its envelope bears the address, "Mrs. E. M. O'Connor, | 1015 O street, N. W. | Washington | D.C." It is postmarked: "New York | Jun | 29 | 6 (?) PM; Carrier | Jun | 30 | 3 AM." [back]
  • 2. Not the John Arnold who was a friend of the Prices. [back]
  • 3. A friend of the O'Connors; see Whitman's November 15, 1863 letter to Ellen O'Connor for Joseph Howells and his wife. [back]
  • 4. Evidently Mrs. Howells' daughter. [back]
  • 5. Distributors of sewing machines. [back]
Back to top