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Walt Whitman to Harry Buxton Forman, 22 May 1890

My dear Forman

Y'r good letter with the £5 has reached me,2 & I have sent off to-day the books & pictures by the International Express (Adams's) address'd the same as this letter, (as the package was too big for mail)—Send me word when it reaches you in good order3—also what the expressage freight charge was—

I am feeling pretty well at present, but have had a bad winter—have had the grip & a second attack—was out yesterday four or five miles, to the bay shore & linger'd some time by the water side—eat & sleep middling well—in good spirits—

Dr Bucke4 is here temporarily—is well—shall probably get out this fine afternoon in wheel-chair5—have kind attention—I send you my last piece—

Love to you & best wishes & remembrances to British friends— Walt Whitman

Henry "Harry" Buxton Forman (1842–1917) was a British man-of-letters, an editor of and authority on the works of Keats and Shelley, and, starting in 1887, a conspirator in literary forgeries that were exposed after his death. The correspondence at this time between Bucke and Forman makes it clear that Bucke was also building up Forman's collection of Whitman materials (D. B. Weldon Library, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario).


  • 1. This letter is addressed: H Buxton Forman | 46 Marlborough Hill | St John's wood | London n w | England. It is postmarked: Camden, N.J. | May 22 | 6 PM | 90; London N.W. | Z A | Ju 2 | 90. [back]
  • 2. This letter is not extant. [back]
  • 3. Forman acknowledges receipt of this package in his June 4, 1890, letter to Whitman. This acknowledgement is dated incorrectly as June 16 in Miller. The June 16, 1890, letter acknowledges receipt of an inscribed copy of November Boughs only, which is inconsistent with Whitman's reference to "books & pictures" in this letter. [back]
  • 4. Richard Maurice Bucke (1837–1902) was a Canadian physician and psychiatrist who grew close to Whitman after reading Leaves of Grass in 1867 (and later memorizing it) and meeting the poet in Camden a decade later. Even before meeting Whitman, Bucke claimed in 1872 that a reading of Leaves of Grass led him to experience "cosmic consciousness" and an overwhelming sense of epiphany. Bucke became the poet's first biographer with Walt Whitman (Philadelphia: David McKay, 1883), and he later served as one of his medical advisors and literary executors. For more on the relationship of Bucke and Whitman, see Howard Nelson, "Bucke, Richard Maurice," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]
  • 5. Horace Traubel and Ed Wilkins, Whitman's nurse, went to Philadelphia to purchase a wheeled chair for the poet that would allow him to be "pull'd or push'd" outdoors. See Whitman's letter to William Sloane Kennedy of May 8, 1889. [back]
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