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Walt Whitman to William D. O'Connor, 29 September 1884

W. W. | Answ'd Oct 3/84. Dear friend

Enclosed a little piece the whole idea of which I got from you—as you see. It is in the Critic of Sept. 272—Dry and warm and often oppressive weather here—a long spell—My lameness seems permanent like—I have promised to write a War Hospital Article for Century to supplement their forthcoming swell [of] war narratives by Grant & the rest.3

William, I wonder if you or Charles Eldridge couldn't help me to something there from the Medical Bureau—summaries, or statistics or any information—who do you know in the Surgeon Gen[eral]'s office?4

Walt Whitman

William Douglas O'Connor (1832–1889) was the author of the grand and grandiloquent Whitman pamphlet The Good Gray Poet: A Vindication, published in 1866. For more on Whitman's relationship with O'Connor, see Deshae E. Lott, "O'Connor, William Douglas (1832–1889)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


  • 1. This letter is addressed: Wm D O'Connor | Life Saving Service | Washington | D C. It is postmarked: Philad(?) | Pa. | Sep 29 (?) | 7 PM; Washington, Rec'd. | Sep | 30 | 5 30 AM | 1884 | 1. [back]
  • 2. "What Lurks Behind Shakspeare's Historical Plays?" (see the letter from Whitman to Jeannette L. and Joseph B. Gilder of September 16, 1884). O'Connor's elation at the support he received from Whitman for his Baconian theories is evident in his letter of October 2. [back]
  • 3. See the letter from Whitman to Robert Underwood Johnson of August 4, 1884. [back]
  • 4. O'Connor informed Whitman on October 2, 1884, that he would have trouble in obtaining the material which was in the process of publication. The Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion appeared in installments between 1870 and 1888. [back]
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