Hugo Fritsch, son of the Austrian consul, was part of the "Fred Gray Association," a group that Ed Folsom and Ken Price characterize as "a loose confederation of young men who seemed anxious to explore new possibilities of male-male affection" ("Walt Whitman").
Whitman composed several letters to Fritsch in his post-Pfaff's period working as a hospital volunteer during the Civil War. In one of these letters Whitman wrote, "Hugo, write oftener--you express your thoughts so perfectly--do you not know how much more agreeable to me is the conversation or writing that does not take hard paved tracks, the usual & stereotyped, but has little peculiarities & even kinks of its own, making its genuineness--its vitality? Dear friend, your letters are precious to me--none I have received from any one are more so." He continued, "I see in your letter, Hugo, you speak of my being reformed--no, I am not so frightfully reformed either, only the hot weather here does not admit of drinking heavy drinks, & there is no good lager here--then besides I have no society--I expect to prove to you & all yet that I am no backslider" (CW 1:126).
In a letter to Fritsch dated October 8, 1863, Whitman expressed his desire "to be within hand's reach" of Fritsch and fellow Pfaffian Fred Gray so that they might all "talk, drink, and carouse together."[pages:49]
The letter is addressed to Fritsch
The letter is addressed to Fritsch.
Whitman mentions that he has received a good letter from his friend Hugo Fritsch in New York.[pages:86]
Whitman mentions that he misses his dear friend "Fritschy"[pages:142]
The Vault at Pfaff's
27 Memorial Drive West, Bethlehem, PA 18015