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Walt Whitman to Mary Whitall Smith Costelloe, 2 August 1886

A pleasant forenoon as I write, here by the open window. I remain ab't as usual—a little pull'd down by the heat perhaps. Your letter came, & was welcome, as always—Alys's "circular"2 came, & now one from Romsey arrived this morn'g—I had a letter from Dr B[ucke] two days ago— all well—

Walt Whitman

Mary Whitall Smith Costelloe (1864–1945) was a political activist, art historian, and critic, whom Whitman once called his "staunchest living woman friend." A scholar of Italian Renaissance art and a daughter of Robert Pearsall Smith, she would in 1885 marry B. F. C. "Frank" Costelloe. She had been in contact with many of Whitman's English friends and would travel to Britain in 1885 to visit many of them, including Anne Gilchrist shortly before her death. For more, see Christina Davey, "Costelloe, Mary Whitall Smith (1864–1945)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


  • 1. This letter is addressed: Mrs: Costelloe | 40 Grosvenor Road | Westminster | London England. It is postmarked: Camden | Aug | 2 | 3 PM | N.J. [back]
  • 2. Alys (Mary's sister) had sent a "circular" letter to her friends. It reached Whitman in a letter on July 30 from Mary Grace Thomas, a young student at Bryn Mawr College. In her article in the Pall Mall Gazette on December 23, Mary Costelloe combined the texts of this card and Whitman's letter from August 15. [back]
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