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Date: 1863
Place: New York
Photographer: Thomas Faris at Faris and Gray
Note: Saunders, quoting Putnam's (where the photo appeared in November 1908), dates it "Just before the Civil War," and Library of Congress and Ohio Wesleyan University date it 1864. A copy of this photograph in the Kendall Reed Collection, however, includes the above backmark of Faris and Gray, making it possible to date this photograph more accurately. In October 1863, Whitman had his hair and beard closely cropped. To his mother, he wrote: "O I must not close without telling you the highly important intelligence that I have cut my hair & beard—”since the event, Rosecrans, Charleston, &c &c have among my acquaintances been hardly mentioned, being insignificant themes in comparison." Similarly, he wrote to Hugo Fritsch: "I have cut my beard short, & hair ditto: (all my acquaintances are in anger & despair & go about wringing their hands)" (Corr 1:158-59). When Whitman visited New York in November 1863, his hair would have still been quite short. Faris appears to have been a long-time acquaintance and mutual friend of Charles W. Hine, who had painted Whitman's portrait in 1860. In 1864 Thomas Faris left New York for Washington, D. C. Though no record exists of their friendship in Washington, Faris did visit Whitman in New York in May 1868, and Whitman records seeing Faris again (after his return to New York) in 1871 to deliver the news that Charles Hine was dying. There is a copy of this photograph in a velvet display box in the Camden house.
Type: Print
Credit: Ohio Wesleyan, Bayley Collection
ID: 018

Image 018


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