Dinner with Walt

all things Walt Whitman

Dinner with Walt - all things Walt Whitman

Happy 197th Birthday!

197 years old today!

Wow! Walt, you’re getting old! But fear not Old Poet, you’re not forgotten! Walt, you’re very much alive today!

In fact, just earlier this year a long-lost letter you wrote to the family of a Civil War soldier was discovered at the National Archives.

And just recently unveiled was another huge discovery, your 1858 news article series on “Manly Health and Training.”

Happy 197th Birthday Old Poet!
Walt Whitman

1878 Photo of Walt Whitman by Napoleon Sarony (Dinner with Walt Collection)

“We must not look back over the shoulders at the world: we should meet each day as it comes with the same assumption: we can make each new day the best of days if we get the habit.” With Walt Whitman in Camden, Vol. IV, p. 297.

Previous birthday posts:

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Horace Traubel Birthday!

Today, December 19, 2014, marks the 156th birthday of the close personal friend and Whitman biographer, Horace Traubel. I would like to share a poem befitting of this occasion, written by Traubel himself on the dedication page to his 1904 book, Chants Communal.

Worn with the burdens of rebellious years,
Across the sea’s scan matching birth with death,
Like ships sky-sailed that earthward come no more,
Love’s dreams must vanish down the edge of sight,
All spent ahead where life will follow-on:
Celestial children, soon beyond my reach,
Entering the unseen port to wait for me.

***

In Whitman’s own words, here’s a birthday greeting that Whitman wished to Traubel on December 19, 1888:

“I don’t congratulate you—I congratulate myself, others: if you were as lucky as I was in your birth then you must feel rich indeed! Here’s love for all the rest of your birthdays!”

***

In remembrance of Horace Traubel and with sincere gratitude for his enormous contributions to further the love and legacy of Walt Whitman –
Happy Birthday!

 

Links to previous articles on Horace Traubel:

Horace Traubel
Handwritten Letter from Horace Traubel
David Karsner’s Biography on Horace Traubel
A December 19th Birthday
Happy 155th Birthday to Horace Traubel: A Helen Keller Tribute
Horace Traubel Grave

 

Credits:
Traubel Portrait: Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
Traubel, Horace. (1904). Chants Communal. New York: Albert and Charles Boni.
Traubel, Horace. (1914). With Walt Whitman in Camden, Volume Three. (p. 332). New York: Mitchell Kennerley.

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A National Treasure Destroyed: The Story of Whitman’s Gold Watch

After suffering yet another paralytic stroke in June of 1888, in a severely weakened and fragile state of health, Whitman wrote a will at the urging of Dr. Bucke. In this lengthy Last Will and Testament, written in his own hand, he mentions his desire for who should have, among many other personal items, his gold pocket watch.  Whitman writesI give to Harry Stafford of Marlton New Jersey my gold watch. I give my friend Peter Doyle the silver watch.

Although many of those closest to Whitman in 1888 feared the worse for him and believed that he may pass at any time, Whitman lived for another four years. In January 1892 Whitman said to Traubel, “…it appears to me, Horace, my will is not yet right: it does too much in some directions, too little or nothing in some others.” Traubel agreed to summon (attorney and literary executor) Thomas B. Harned to oversee the requested changes. Traubel says to Whitman, “I shall go up to see him at once.” Whitman replies, “Yes, tell him there are some changes to make—that I am determined upon them.”

Later that same day, following lunch, Traubel and Harned returned together to Whitman’s home on Mickle Street. Harned asked Whitman if he wished to make changes to the will.  W. said:

“Yes, that was right. I want to make some changes in the will. It fails to satisfy me as it is. How can the changes be made? Will you have to rewrite the whole document?” “No, only add a codicil, which you will have to sign. Do you think you can sign it?” “Oh yes, I can—I must.” I passed into the next room and got H. a writing pad. He sat on edge of bed, pencil in hand. W. dictated several items, starting always, “I wish to leave”—$200 to Mrs. Van Nostrand instead of $1000, $200 to Walt Whitman Fritzinger, “to be invested for him,” he added, even stopping to spell this name, “a new baby—a dear little one—born a week ago, and named after me—yes, Harry’s boy.” Further changed the gold watch from Harry Stafford to H.L.T. and the silver watch from Pete Doyle to Harry Stafford and reduced Mrs. Stafford to $200, from $250 (though he contended it was $450), and then he asked, “And Mrs. George Whitman my executrix—eh? That is all fastened?” And after Harned’s “Yes,” “And Dr. Bucke, you Tom, and Horace, to have my papers—literary belongings of whatever character.” “That, too, is all down already, Walt.” “Well then you have the substance of my changes.”

 

Just two months later, on March 26th, 1892, Whitman died.  Upon his death as Whitman wished, Traubel received the gold watch.  (I seem to recall reading that Traubel wore that watch and showed it off at the annual Whitman Fellowship Dinners held on Whitman’s birthday. I’ll try to locate and share this missing piece of the story).

 

David Karsner’s bio on Horace Traubel, 1919

 

Many years later, in 1919, David Karsner, a longtime personal friend to Horace Traubel, completed a biography on Traubel; just months prior to Traubel’s own death. Karsner writes,

 “Traubel left no will. He had often said that he wanted his Whitman collection to go to the Library of Congress. The large gold watch which Walt Whitman had given to him in his will, he in turn requested that that be given to Malcolm Aalholm, his infant grand-son.  All other personal matters and effects come into the possession of Anne Montgomerie Traubel.”

 

The Destruction of the Watch

     In the article “Recollections of Charles Feinberg[1] by C. Carroll Hollis, we learn of the awful destruction of Whitman’s watch. Hollis writes:

 “Sometimes [Feinberg’s] generous enthusiasm for the Whitman cause had funny-sad consequences, as in the strange episode of Whitman’s watch. Some months after I met Charles, he asked me to come home with him for there was something he wanted to show me. On the way there he explained that in the mass of items he had received from Annie Traubel there was Whitman’s watch that he had willed to Horace. Horace’s son had died as a child, but there was a grandson (Gertrude’s son Malcolm) who had run away years before and had never kept in touch with the family. Even so, Charles reasoned, the watch really belonged to this boy (by then, of course, a grown man), so he hired a detective to track down the address (somewhere in Iowa, I believe).When the address was found, Charles carefully packaged the watch in a neat square box with plenty of padding, enclosed a little note explaining the background of the gift, congratulated the new owner on his unusual inheritance, and invited a reply about his Whitman interests and memories.

By that time we had reached Charles’s home, and as we entered he pointed to the hall table and said, “It just came back.” There was the unwrapped square package, opened to reveal the remains of the watch – the crystal shattered, the face crushed, with the hands awry, the spring unsprung and twisted around to make a little nest. No one looking at the now-shattered watch could miss what had happened: the grandson’s anger at his mailing address being discovered, the growing frustrated rage as he read Charles’s innocent letter, the renewed rejection of all that Whitman worship, and finally going to his work-table, seizing the hammer, and giving Walt Whitman’s Waltham Watch one well-aimed blow. One can even imagine the grim satisfaction in wrapping it up again and sending back this emphatic rejection. I may not remember everything about the incident, but I’ll never forget Charles’s honest distress, “What did I do wrong?” And to such an upright, decent man, it was a deep shock, I’m sure. I think I repeated the well-known truism that children of literary parents often reject their parents’ enthusiasms. Perhaps young Malcolm had had an overdose of the Whitman reverence that dominated the Traubel household.

So Charles’s well-meant gift may not have been seen that way at all but as a ploy to get him back into a family situation he could not stand. I doubt my attempts to explain away the occasion of Charles’s deep hurt were very helpful, but as we talked he seemed to get back his usual cheerful composure. Finally, I asked what he was going to do with it – try to get in touch with Malcolm again? repair the watch? throw it away? He replied, in a return to his normal bright manner, “Oh, I can’t throw it out! It’s still Walt’s watch, you know, so I’ll just keep it.”

I often wonder if Charles ever told Gertrude about the watch … and, indeed, to this day I don’t know what finally did happen to it. But certainly none of his other many benefactions was ever rejected.”

 

What may be the last interesting footnote in this story, Malcolm Wallace Aalholm, (born April 8, 1918 to Horace’s daughter Gertrude Traubel and NY architect Albert Clement Aalholm) died just this year, May 23, 2013 at age 95 in Parsippany, NJ.

As far as I have been able to tell, no one has ever been able to ascertain why Aalholm smashed Whitman’s watch. Obviously he possessed some deeply-rooted negative feelings of Whitman because he impulsively smashed the watch before considering the possibility that it could have some monetary value from which he possibly might gain by selling it. Whatever the motivation may have been for this unfortunate turn of events may never be known.

 

Ah yes!  You might wonder, what’s the story on the silver watch given to Harry Stafford after Whitman’s death!?!  That’s another story for another day…

 


[1] Feinberg, owner of Marathon Oil Co., amassed a massive collection of Whitman materials in his lifetime and donated all (well most of it, he sent many Whitman books, papers and materials to libraries across the US who otherwise had no Whitman materials to encourage and further the study of Whitman) the majority of the collection was sent to the Library of Congress. Feinberg died in 1988.

 

Credits:

Traubel, Horace. (1906). With Walt Whitman in Camden (March 28 – July 14, 1888). Boston: Small, Maynard & Company. pp.306-312.

Traubel, Horace. (1996). With Walt Whitman in Camden (October 1, 1891 – April 3, 1892). California:  Oregon House. p. 289.

Karsner, David. Horace Traubel, His Life and Work. New York:  Egmont Arens. 1919.

Recollections of Charles Feinberg

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1869 Letter to Whitman from Dr. William A. Hawley

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, Whitman received countless letters from people the world over. In Traubel’s Volume 4 of With Walt Whitman in Camden,  there’s a very poignant letter to Whitman from a Dr. William A. Hawley, from Syracuse, NY. The letter is dated, August 10, 1869 and was sent to Whitman while he was still in Washington D.C. at the Attorney General’s Office. *

Of course we know that Whitman very rarely discarded anything. Twenty years after the date of the letter, on Saturday, March 16, 1889, Whitman passes this on to Horace Traubel for his ever-growing collection of Whitman materials. Whitman says of the letter, “It’s from one of the unknowns—or the less knowns: he’s a doctor of the homeopathic stripe: he sends his picture: there’s something tender and beautiful to me in his few words: he does not pile it on—is simple, says a little, does not overdo it.”

After reading this touching letter, I felt a personal connection to what Dr. Hawley had to say to Whitman. I did a bit of Google-sleuthing and found some interesting information on Dr. Hawley that I will share after the letter below. Here’s the letter:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

It’s a rather disappointing tale in what happens next between Whitman and Dr. Hawley. If we fast-forward seven months to Thursday, October 31, 1889, we learn Dr. Hawley paid a personal visit to Whitman at his home in Camden. Whitman tells Traubel in Vol. 6 of WWIC:

     “I had another visitor today—a man, Hawley—from Syracuse or Rochester—a doctor, medical doctor. He bought 2 copies L. of G.: one for himself, one for a friend in the city—Kent, was his name, I think. He says he told Kent he was going to devote this afternoon to this visit, and then Kent, who knew nothing about me, gave him money for the book—probably from a curiosity to know how the wild beast looked at close quarters. O yes! Hawley was a medical doctor—a homeopathist. He even started to talk about me—discuss me physically—but I would have none of it—told him I was not open to discussion at that point.”

Recall I earlier described this visit as rather disappointing; surely Dr. Hawley was delighted to finally meet Whitman in the flesh, some twenty years after his touching letter to Whitman. But as we see by Whitman’s account above, W. almost seems annoyed at Dr. Hawley’s presence, as least as it is retold to Traubel.

Whitman was understandably at this time in his life in a very weakened and fragile state of health, in fact, he told Traubel earlier this very same day, “My head has been in a queer chaotic condition—as though in a whirl of phlegm. I was not in my best condition…”

It does seem possible that Whitman in his cloudy-headed state had not made the connection of his present visit by Dr. Hawley as the same man who wrote the 1869 “tender and beautiful letter…“. Surely and sadly, this had to be a disappointment to Dr. Hawley to meet Whitman with some amount of disapproval on Whitman’s part.

 
So just who is this Dr. Hawley you ask? Well, as a result of a little Google-sleuthing, William A. Hawley was born August 28, 1820 and died May 16, 1891. As Whitman mentioned, Dr. Hawley was a homeopathic doctor who was very highly regarded both in terms of his interpersonal relations to those around him and in his career field. I found an obituary which provides further background information and reveals his significance to the homeopathic field of early medicine.

 

Dr. Hawley is buried at Oakwood Cemetery in Syracuse, NY.

 

* As background info, it is interesting to note, that in 1869, the date of Dr. Hawley’s letter, Whitman was working on his fifth printing of Leaves of Grass. While Whitman at this time was gaining some bit of prominence with his English audience, he was still mostly frowned upon with the US audience and still widely regarded with disgust and disdain. As such, it should not be difficult for one to imagine Whitman’s delight in receiving this very touching letter in 1869.

 

Credits:

Traubel, Horace. (date). With Walt Whitman in Camden, Volume 4 (January 21 to April 7, 1889).     Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. pp. 365.

Traubel, Horace & Traubel, Gertrude ed. 1982. With Walt Whitman in Camden, Volume 6 (September     15, 1889-July 6, 1890). Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern IL University. pp. 103.

Allen, Henry C., M. D., ed. 1891. The Medical Advance: A Monthly Magazine of Homeopathic Medicine.     Chicago, John Rice Miner.

 

 


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328 Mickle Street

Walt Whitman's house

Walt’s house, 328 Mickle Street, has an interesting story all its own. In Volume One of With Walt Whitman in Camden there is a discussion of a need to get Walt’s affairs in order as there is fear of his imminent death. Whitman was asked if he yet owed anything on the house. Whitman responds:

 


 
Now, where the story of the house on Mickle gets most interesting – fast forward to 1893, a year after Walt’s death. Whitman’s longtime housekeeper, Mary Davis, brought a lawsuit against the Whitman estate, claiming she was owed yet for services she rendered to Whitman and was never paid. What follows is the sordid sort of thing right out of a modern day soap opera! From the Walt Whitman Archive:

 

    “Davis occasioned a rift among Whitman followers when she

brought a lawsuit against the poet’s estate claiming that she was owed a

considerable sum for unpaid nursing duties performed in the last years

of Walt’s life.13 The suit was brought against George Whitman, the

principal beneficiary of the estate, who was represented in court by

Thomas Harned. In July of 1893 Traubel gave Wallace his side of the

story, beginning with the statement that Mrs. Davis’ claim was “fraudulent” and would never be won. He explains that according to U.S. law her acceptance of her part of the legacy (Whitman had left her $1000) bars her from making further claims. As to the merits of her bill for nursing from 1885 to 1892, he argues, “From ’85 to ’88 Walt had no nurse-needed none-(for he went about himself with perfect ease)and from 1888 on, when the need was evident, we furnished and hired the man.” Her housekeeping, he says, was so lacking that “Mrs. O’Connor, Mrs. Johnston, Mrs. Harned and others of the women friends of Walt were always protesting that it was our duty to get rid of Mrs. Davis & see that Walt had quarters conducive to comfort & health. But for the desperate objections that we knew Walt would make, we would never have submitted him in his sickness to her housekeeping, which was considered deleterious in the highest degree” (July 16, 1893).


There is a subplot to all of this, however, having to do with the

house on Mickle Street which Harned and Traubel were eager to acquire.

In Whitman’s will of 1891 the property at 328 Mickle Street was

left to Walt’s sister-in-Iaw, Mrs. George Whitman, with the proviso that

the property be used to support his retarded brother, Edward. Mrs.

Whitman died in August of 1892 (five months after Walt’s death) and

Edward died in November of the same year. This meant that George

Whitman became the principal beneficiary of Walt’s estate, and Traubel

and Harned were trying to get George to turn the house over to them for

preservation. In January of 1893 Traubel wrote to Wallace of his hopes

that now that Eddie was dead, the Whitman estate would give the house

up for preservation so that the money already raised, from Whitman

admirers, for its purchase could be used for repairs and as an endowment.


In August he had the key to the house in his pocket, but

complained that “George cannot be made to see that the house should

not be sold but preserved” (August 7, 1893). In November he fulminated

against George and other members of the Whitman family who

were holding out over “this paltry few hundred dollars yet were content

in W’s lifetime to leave him in the hands of his friends” (November 13,

1893).


Even if George had been willing to turn the house over to Traubel

and Harned, there was a hindrance in the form of Mrs. Davis and her

foster son, Warry. According to Elizabeth Keller, Mary Davis had

convinced George Whitman’s wife that she was entitled to a sum of

money to cover expenses she had incurred as Walt’s housekeeper, but

when Mrs. Whitman died her husband did not share this opinion

(Keller, 182-183). He refused to consider Mrs. Davis’ claim, and Mrs.

Davis refused to leave the premises. In July of 1893 Traubel, with

Harned, who was acting as George’s attorney, attempted to force Mrs.

Davis and Warry to vacate the premises. Obviously the two executors

thought that by supporting George’s position they would secure their

own designs on the property.


Traubel was infuriated by the Davis claim: “It is enough to stir up

his [Whitman’s] poor dead bones,” he cried to Wallace. His frustration

increased when others of the Whitman circle of admirers did not agree

with him on the matter. It was his contention that “Walt never contracted with Mrs. Davis except that he would waive rent for the house and she would waive charges for board. We always knew of this arrangement” (January 26, 1894).


On January 31 (1894) the jury awarded Mrs. Davis $500 and the case

was finished. The cost to the Whitman estate, Traubel informed Wallace,

would be about $1,000. While he does not say so, one can imagine

his distress at this since it appears to have been at least part of George

Whitman’s reason for not giving the Mickle Street house to the literary

executors as they had hoped. On March 3 Traubel wrote to Wallace that

he no longer believed George would either give them or sell them the

house. “He is absolutely an ass, and I know no man meaner in the face

of facts which would move any other human being I know to generosity

and appreciation.”

 

As dramatic and no doubt stress-inducing this was at the time, this story ends with a good conclusion. Sadly though, Traubel did not live long enough to see it finally come to a close. Upon George Whitman’s death, the house was transferred to Walt’s niece Jessie Whitman (Thomas Jefferson Whitman’s daughter). Geoffrey Sill writes:

 

 

Click to visit The Walt Whitman House. (Now operated by the New Jersey Division of Parks and Foresty).

 

Credits:

 

Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/roomofmyown/573031217/

 

Traubel, Horace. (1906). With Walt Whitman in Camden (March 28 – July 14, 1888). Boston: Small, Maynard & Company. pp. 291.

 

Krieg, Joann P. (1994). “Walt Whitman Quarterly Review.” The Walt Whitman Archive. http://www.whitmanarchive.org/criticism/wwqr/pdf/anc.00688.pdf

 

Sill, Geoffrey M. (1998). “Minkle Street House.” The Walt Whitman Archive. http://www.whitmanarchive.org/criticism/current/encyclopedia/entry_33.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

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With Walt Whitman in Camden

 

So I finished With Walt Whitman in Camden Volume 1 (March 28 – July 14, 1888) by Horace Traubel.  I thought I’d share my impressions:  Traubel’s documentation is truly remarkable, amazing and superb! You know that old saying about ‘wishing to be a fly on the wall’ in order to be a unobtrusive observer?  That’s what Traubel has allowed his readers to become, a fly on Whitman’s wall.

 

It’s not difficult to see that Traubel did in fact, visit Whitman on a daily basis, for there are daily entries.  But what is so impressive is Traubel’s ability to so thoroughly document the discussions that both he and Whitman had and, so many other discussions by visitors that surface in Whitman’s life during this period. Many times these discussions are repetitive and sometimes even mundane, but collectively, they allow a Whitman-egghead like myself to see the “true critter” he was.

 

I have no concerns understanding how Traubel managed to share letters and photos, they’re documents – written proof. What I am not certain of is how Traubel managed to pull off his well-done feat of documenting Whitman’s discussions. This will be a topic for future exploration and discussion on my part, but I speculate that Traubel must have developed his own style of shorthand with which he used to document so many of the various lengthy verbal discussions.

 

Whitman has many times stated he does not like to be asked questions. One thing I find noteworthy in the Whitman/Traubel relationship is that Traubel found his own ‘crafty way’ of getting information and opinions out of Whitman without asking the dreaded, direct and pointed questions.  It is well documented that Whitman’s bedroom was a ‘mess’ – stacks and scraps of papers, letters, books, and various gifts given to Whitman littered his room.  Whitman liked no one to touch his stacks, and considered it all to be a  “heap of nothings and somethings.” Traubel, in his thirst for acquiring and documenting letters and many other various items of interest of Whitman’s developed a sly way of obtaining these documents.  Over and over it is noted that Traubel would, “kick a stack of letters on the floor with his foot” or “shift a stack of papers on the table.” This subtle technique always grabbed Whitman’s attention who would invariably ask, “what is it that you found there?”

 

So much of Volume 1 is centered on Whitman’s very fragile health. It is quite well documented how phsyically limited and fragile he was in these days. It is often noted by doctors who visited him, and even Whitman himself, that he hangs on death’s doorstep. Although not directly stated, and he himself no complainer of the trifles of life, he must have suffered immense pain as medicine and medical knowledge was only in its infancy during Whitman’s time. I feel safe in knowing that as fragile as he was as detailed in Volume 1, there are 8 more volumes in this series to read and I am mostly undisturbed by his ailments – I know that Whitman will survive for another 4 years. I look forward with much anticipation to starting volume 2 and sharing Whitman’s ‘next adventures’ in his life.

 

While not directly related to this volume, I would like to share that prior to beginning this series, I purchased a little 3.5 inch by 5.5 inch green notebook. My little green notebook has 11 full pages of my own entries of the humorous, odd and otherwise noteworthy tidbits from volume 1. Unbeknownst to me, Whitman himself carried his own little green notebook. Justin Kaplan, in his biography of Whitman, notes: “On and off since about 1847 he carried with him a 3.5 inch by 5.5 inch pocket notebook bound in green boards with a leather backstrip and three leather loops along the side edges to hold a pencil.”

 

 

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Color Photography – It Can’t Be Possible!?!

If you’ve read the post, About This Site, you may recall where I speculate how Walt might be amazed to see all the technological changes that have occurred in the past 120 years since his death. I found an interesting passage today in With Walt Whitman in Camden that hits on this thought exactly!

 

In June of 1888, Walt was discussing with Traubel the possibility of color photography and doubts it could ever be a reality. Walt says:

 

 

Traubel, Horace. (1906). With Walt Whitman in Camden (March 28 – July 14, 1888). Boston: Small, Maynard & Company. pp.283.

 

 

 

 

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Horace L. Traubel

 

Whitman was connected with many important and influential people throughout his life, but for Whitman biographers, perhaps none other was more important than Horace Traubel.  Traubel’s name is often found in all studies of Whitman, for Traubel made it his own life work to document all he could about the “Good Gray Poet.”

 

Traubel met Whitman at the age of 15, Whitman was 54. Their friendship caused a bit of a stir because of their difference in age. However, they remained close friends and allies for the remainder of Whitman’s life. Starting in 1888 and to the end of Whitman’s life in 1892, Traubel made daily visits to Whitman’s home on 328 Minkle Street and kept meticulous notes about their conversations. Traubel documented all the conversations; everything from the interesting to the mundane. Traubel had accumulated massive amounts of his own transcribed notes of their discussions; collected letters written to and by Whitman; and stockpiled photos and documents given to him by Whitman himself. This documentation has proved invaluable to Whitman historians.

 

There’s a humorous exchange between Whitman and Traubel in volume 1 of With Walt Whitman on page 210. After reading a letter Whitman had handed him, Traubel asks:

 

“Is this letter of any use to you any more?” Whitman responds, “None whatever – is it any use to you?” Traubel “didn’t say a word.” Whitman looked at him, stated, “I see you want me to say, take it.  Well – I say it. You are the victim of a disease I should not encourage – but then we’ve agreed to work together – you’re my partner – there’s no use quarreling over trifles. Take the letter – and the devil be with you.”

 

 

Whitman knew that Traubel intended to write a biography, but what Whitman did not know is that Traubel would publish a work of Whitman as thoroughly and completely as he did. It was Traubel’s intention to publish all of his notes in a series called, With Walt Whitman in Camden. Traubel accomplished in completing the first three editions of the series before his own death in 1919. Since then, six other editions have been completed, with the final ninth edition of Traubel’s notes published as recently as 1996.

 

Traubel’s death in 1919 is interesting to note as well. From the Walt Whitman Archive:

 

“Traubel attended one last centenary event—the August dedication of a huge granite cliff at the Bon Echo estate in Canada, to be named “Old Walt” and inscribed with Whitman’s words in giant letters. On 28 August Traubel, while sitting in a tower room where he could look out on Old Walt, shouted that Whitman had just appeared above the granite cliff “in a golden glory.” “He reassured me, beckoned to me, and spoke to me. I heard his voice but did not understand all he said, only ‘Come on'” (qtd. in Denison 196). Traubel died at Bon Echo on 3 September and was buried in Harleigh Cemetery in Camden, close to Whitman’s tomb.

 

Thanks to Wikipedia, here’s a photo from the dedication at Bon Echo. Horace Traubel is not in the photo, presumably due to his ill health. But what is most remarkable is that Traubel lived to see this event, as he had wished, but sadly his life ended shortly after this dedication. Here’s the photo taken at the dedication, August 1919:

 

 

 

Credits:

 

Traubel Image: Walt Whitman Archive. http://www.whitmanarchive.org/criticism/disciples/tei/anc.00249.html

 

Traubel, Horace. (1906). With Walt Whitman in Camden (March 28 – July 14, 1888). Boston: Small, Maynard & Company. pp. 210.

 

Folsom, Ed. (1998). “Horace L. Traubel.” The Walt Whitman Archive. http://www.whitmanarchive.org/criticism/disciples/tei/anc.00249.html

 

Bon Echo image:  Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bon_Echo_-_Old_Walt.png

 

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