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Walt Whitman to Helen E. Price, 21 April 1881

Dear Helen Price

Your good letter has come, & I am glad indeed to hear from you, & sister & father, & have you located—All sorrowful, solemn, yet soothing thoughts come up in my mind at reminiscences of my dear friend, your dear mother2—have often thought of you all, since '73 the last time I saw you so briefly—so sadly—

About Dr Bucke—(he is a long-established medical doctor & head of the Asylum for the Insane, at London, Ontario, Canada)—you can write to him freely & send him what you feel to—he is a true & trusted friend of mine—I know him well3

I have just returned from Boston, where I have been the past week—went on to read my annual Death of Abraham Lincoln on the anniversary of that tragedy—

I am pretty well for me—am still under the benumbing influences of paralysis, but thankful to be as well as I am—still board here (make my head quarters here) with my brother & his wife—Eddy, my brother, is living & well, he is now boarding ab't 40 miles from here4—Yes, Helen dear, when I come to New York, I will send you word sure—Best love to you, Emmy, father & all, especially little Walter5

Walt Whitman


  • 1. This letter bears the address: Miss Helen E. Price | Woodside | Long Island | New York. [back]
  • 2. Abby H. Price, an old friend of the Whitman family, had died on May 4, 1878; see Putnam's Monthly, 5 (1908), 163–169. [back]
  • 3. Undoubtedly Helen Price wrote to Whitman after receiving a request from Dr. Richard Maurice Bucke for material to be included in his study of the poet. Her reminiscences appear in Bucke's Walt Whitman (Philadelphia: David McKay, 1883), 26–32. Whitman and Bucke visited Helen Price from July 23 to 28, 1881 (see the letter from Whitman to John Burroughs of August 3, 1881). [back]
  • 4. Edward, Whitman's brother, went on March 23 to an institution at Glen Mills, Pa. Whitman sent $16 monthly to William V. Montgomery for Ed's care (Whitman's Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). [back]
  • 5. Helen's sister, Emily, who had married in 1869 (see the letter from Whitman to Abby H. Price of April 7, 1869), probably named one of her sons after the poet. [back]
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