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Walt Whitman to Thomas Jefferson Whitman, 27 February 1887

Rather pleasant to-day—sunny, but cold—Nothing new with me—I went over to Phila. one evening last week, & read two "Leaves" in public2—pleasant ride there & back in carriage—was paid—Love to dear J[essie]3—O how my canary is singing as I write—

Walt Whitman

Thomas Jefferson Whitman (1833–1890), known as "Jeff," was Walt Whitman's favorite brother. As a civil engineer, Jeff eventually became Superintendent of Water Works in St. Louis and a nationally recognized figure. For more on Jeff, see Randall Waldron, "Whitman, Thomas Jefferson (1833–1890)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


  • 1. This letter is addressed: Thos: J Whitman | 4237 [Corrected by another hand to read "2437"] 2d Carondelet Av: | St Louis | Missouri. It is postmarked: Camden | Feb | 27 | (?); Saint Louis | Mar | 1 | 8 AM | 1887 | Rec'd. [back]
  • 2. On February 22, Whitman read "The Mystic Trumpeter" and "A Voice from the Sea" to the Contemporary Club in Philadelphia. [back]
  • 3. Jessie Louisa Whitman (1863–1957) was the second and youngest daughter of Whitman's brother Thomas Jefferson "Jeff" Whitman (1833–1890) and Jeff's wife Martha Mitchell Whitman (1836–1873). [back]
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