Skip to main content

Walt Whitman to Emma Dowe, [12 July 1877]

Dear Emmy:1

Lou wishes me to write you a line. She is very weak yet, but . . . in good spirits and comparatively free from pain, for now five days and nights. The babe ceased to live before it was delivered. That Lou's life was saved and that she will recover (as now seems every way probable) is something to be devoutly thankful for. The case is curiously solemn and sad—to me—Everyone says it was the most beautiful, perfect, and well-developed babe, boy; unusually large, had black hair, nose and features like its father. Today is the anniversary of little Walter's death here.2 Emmy, isn't it a sad world, after all.


  • 1. Emma Dowe was Louisa (Mrs. George Washington) Whitman's sister. Her husband Francis E. Dowe operated dry goods stores in Norwich, Connecticut, from 1872 to 1918. A copy of the letter Whitman refers to was preserved by Mrs. Dowe's daughter Amy, who wrote "A Child's Memories of the Whitmans." This reminiscence, composed in the 1930s, has been published by Edwin Haviland Miller in "Amy H. Dowe and Walt Whitman," Walt Whitman Review, 13 (September 1967), 73–79. [back]
  • 2. The first child of George and Louisa Whitman died on July 12, 1876 (see Walt Whitman's letter to Ellen M. O'Connor on July 13, 1876). [back]
Back to top