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Walt Whitman to William D. O'Connor, [18 April 1886]

Your little book has come & I have been sitting here by the open window, looking it over the last hour. It is a wonderful specimen, first of typographical beauty & solid excellence—then I find it interesting, absorbing in quite a devouring degree—

Walt Whitman

I am ab't as usual—the lecture netted me $674—Dr Bucke is half-way to England—I have rec'd John Burroughs' new book3—warm sunny day here—I am going out with my horse for two or three hours—

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 endorsed: Answ'd May 25,/86. It is addressed: Wm D O'Connor | Life Saving Service | Washington D C. It is postmarked: Camden | Apr | 19 | 8 PM | 1886 | N.J.; Washington, Rec'd | Apr | 20 | 7 AM | 1886 | 1. [back]
  • 2. The date is established by the postmark (April 19 fell on Monday in 1886) and by the reference to Hamlet's Note-book as well as to the Lincoln lecture. The presentation copy of the book in the Charles E. Feinberg Collection reads: "Walt Whitman from his friend W. D. O'Connor, Washington, D. C., April 17, 1886." [back]
  • 3. Signs and Seasons (see the letter from Whitman to John Burroughs of December 21, 1885). [back]
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