User menu

Menu

Relationships of Whitman, Walt

To explore the relationships between the various bohemian writers and artists who frequented Pfaff's bar, select a person or group, and then select a relationship type. This section of the site is currently under construction; new content is being added on a regular basis.

Displaying 1 - 148 of 148
acquaintances

Aldrich, Thomas Bailey (1836-1907)

He received "backhanded praise" from Whitman for his "poetic 'tinkles.'"

Whitman mentioned making his acquaintance "in New York, at the beershop."

Andrews, Stephen Pearl (1812-1886)

Arnold, George (1834-1865)

While at Pfaff's, Arnold is mentioned as being "quarrelsome" and his satirical wit was no match for Walt Whitman.

Booth, Edwin (1833-1893)

Brisbane, Albert (1809-1890)

Brisbane and Whitman met one winter in Washington at the O'Connors'; the two seem to have spoken often, but Elridge wrote that "Walt never yielded an inch of ground to him."

Brougham, John (1810-1880)

Brougham is mentioned by Whitman as one of the departed company who used to frequent Pfaff's.

Whitman mentions Brougham as one of the former Pfaff's frequenters that have passed away.

Whitman mentions that Brougham was a leader at Pfaff's.

Clapp, George G. (1824-1893)

George Clapp was said to have personally delivered a letter from Henry Clapp to Whitman in Boston on May 12.

Clapp, Henry Jr. (1814-1875)

Clare, Ada (1836-1874)

Lalor described her as one of the Bohemians that made an impression on Whitman.

Emerson, Ralph Waldo (1803-1882)

Gardette, Charles Desmarais (1830-1884)

Gayler, Charles (1820-1892)

Gray, Thomas

Whitman describes him as one of the odd characters at Pfaff's, a "good looking young Scotchman elegantly dress'd - does the tricks, cutting his fingers &c - at Pfaff's and Faffleys May, June, July, 1862."

Greeley, Horace (1811-1872)

Whitman shared Greeley's opinion that the Crystal Palace Exhibition was "a thing to be seen once in a lifetime."

Hall, Abraham Oakey (1826-1898)

Howells, William Dean (1837-1920)

Howells dined with Whitman during his first visit to New York.

Howells is identified as a writer Whitman met at Pfaff's.

Howells met Whitman on his August 1860 trip to New York.

Jones, George (1810-1879)

Keene, Laura (1826-1873)

Whitman refers to an actress named "Mrs. Kean," which may or may not be Laura Keene.

Kingsley, Charles

Kingsley spent time with Whitman at Pfaff's in June and July of 1862.

Law, Jack

Law remembered Whitman from his Pfaff's days when Law was a landscape painter. He claimed that Whitman would most likely not recognize him by name.

Leland, Charles Godfrey (1824-1903)

Mallen, Edward

Mallen, possibly referred to here as "Mullin", may be one of the departed Pfaffians Whitman writes about toasting with Pfaff during his 1881 visit.

Menken, Adah Isaacs (1835-1868)

O'Brien, Fitz-James (1828-1862)

Stedman, Edmund Clarence (1833-1908)

Stedman called and Whitman and the became an "ardent admirer" of his (479).

Stedman is listed among the "active and honorary" pallbearers at Whitman's funeral (594 n.153).

Vedder, Elihu (1836-1923)

The authors mention that Vedder and Whitman became acquainted during the late 1850s, but does not specifically identify Pfaff's as the location of their meeting.

Wilkins, Edward (Ned) G. P. (1829-1861)

Whitman mentions in a notebook having run into Wilkins at Ada Clare's home.

antagonists

Aldrich, Thomas Bailey (1836-1907)

Aldrich is mentioned as one of the parties in New York involved in the "inconsistent opposition" to the third edition of Leaves of Grass in 1859-1860.

Parry cites Whitman's remark "Yes, Tom, I like your tinkles: I like them very well" and the enemy he made in Aldrich as an example of Whitman's tendency to be rude when others "shone" at Pfaff's.

Winter discusses the relationship between Aldrich and Whitman. Winter says that Whitman "contrived to inspire Aldrich with a permanent aversion."

Arnold, George (1834-1865)

Arnold's toast to the "Success to the Southern Arms" leads to a response from Whitman that prompts a violent argument between the two men. Whitman ends his Pfaff's association during the Civil War after Arnold grabs his hair during this argument.

Lalor cites an "infamous incident at Pfaff's" between Whitman and the "young poet-satirist" Arnold in 1862; "None of the participants emerged with much dignity."

Parry notes Arnold's famous fight with Walt Whitman, and says it was only a matter of quick temper. However, Parry states that Whitman would later forgive Arnold for the incident.

Stansell notes that one of the political fights that occurred at Pfaff's was between Whitman and Arnold; the two men had a falling-out over some pro-Southern remarks Arnold made.

In George Arnold's war pieces written for Vanity Fair he posed as a defender of the Southern Cause. This prompted an argument later between Arnold and Walt Whitman.

"At the outbreak of the Southern rebellion Walt Whitman and George Arnold came to an unpleasantness while enjoying their usual after-dinner punch. They were sitting opposite each other at the table. George was for rebellion and Walt was opposed. George was full of 'treasonism' and Walt was full of 'patriotism.'"

Clare, Ada (1836-1874)

Clare met with Whitman's disapproval when she was not only unconventional but also when she was inconsiderate.

Whitman and the "respectable literati" criticized her lifestyle and work based on the accounts of her private life. She retaliated in the Press.

Emerson, Ralph Waldo (1803-1882)

On October 10, 1855, Whitman allowed Charles Dana to reprint Emerson's letter of endorsement of Leaves of Grass in the Tribune without Emerson's permission. This action was taken as a mildly rude affront by Emerson.

When Bellew informed Emerson that Whitman had published his congratulatory letter in the Tribune, Emerson responded that it "was merely a private letter of congratulation. Had I intended it for publication, I would have enlarged the but very much -- enlarged the but."

Halleck, Fitz-Greene (1790-1867)

Boynton says that Halleck certainly disapproved of Whitman.

Howells, William Dean (1837-1920)

Howells was not fond of Whitman and believed that "Clapp had taken Whitman up because he was so obnoxious to respectable society."

Howells remarked that Whitman was practically the object of cult worship.

Stedman, Edmund Clarence (1833-1908)

Stedman is included along with Taylor, Stoddard, and Aldrich as the parties in New York involved in the "inconsistent opposition" to the third edition of Leaves of Grass in 1859-1860. Lalor writes that "It was chiefly against this ambivalent group and against the naysayers of New England that Clapp did battle for Whitman, with a characteristic originality of method which was both a tribute to the Press at the same time it was a boon to Whitman" (137).
[pages:137]
edit

Stedman was part of a group of men who tormented Whitman over his Leaves of Grass (53).

Whitman discusses how Stedman is the "pick and treasure" of the "bitter" New York Crowd (47).

Whitman seems to be often critical of him and his personality (106-7).

Stoddard, Richard Henry (1825-1903)

When Stoddard criticized The Good Gray Poet in the Round Table on January 20, 1866, the critque was "flippant, satirical, and abusive both of the poet and his defender" (367).

Taylor, Stoddard, Aldrich, and Stedman are mentioned as the parties in New York involved in the "inconsistent opposition" to the third edition of Leaves of Grass in 1859-1860. Lalor writes that "It was chiefly against this ambivalent group and against the naysayers of New England that Clapp did battle for Whitman, with a characteristic originality of method which was both a tribute to the Press at the same time it was a boon to Whitman" (137).

Stoddard is said to have particularly hostile to Walt Whitman upon his publication of Leaves of Grass (53).

Stoddard is one of several contemporary writers who were neither fans of Whitman nor friends with the poet (41).

Stoddard is recalled as having pursued Whitman with "a sort of venom always" and appears to have been a harsh media critic (99).

Taylor, Bayard (1825-1878)

In 1871, Taylor, "recently a friend of Whitman" wrote a parody of Whitman that appeared in the Tribune:
"Who was it that sang of the procreant urge, recounted sextillions of subjects?
Who but myself, the Kosmos, yawping abroad, concerned not at all about either the effect or the answer" (433).
This, and other parodies were written in response to Whitman's attempt to substitute for Greeley at the National Industrial Exhibition (433). After this satire, Whitman "detested" Taylor and was disappointed when Taylor was asked to deliver a poem at the Centennial Celebration in Philadelpia (463).

According to Parry, Taylor was among the contemporary writers who were not fans of or friends of Walt Whitman (41).

Winter, William (1836-1917)

According to Lalor, Winter "felt an overt antipathy toward Whitman and Whitman reciprocated the rancor. Neither party ever outlined reasons for his feelings, but Winter's abiding faith in all things romantic and Whitman's grandiose self-esteem may have been the causes for the other's attitude" (135). Lalor cites the publication of a parody of Whitman's style by "little Willie" Winter as an example of Whitman's probable lack of control over what was published about him or Leaves of Grass in the Saturday Press. Lalor writes that Whitman "detested" Winter and "certainly would not have endorsed [his work] for publication" (141).

Winter was one of the men at Pfaff's who was quite willing to join in tormenting Walt Whitman over his Leaves of Grass.

Parry mentions that Winter and Stedman were among the Pfaffians who disliked Whitman and did not enjoy his presence at the saloon. Parry cites Whitman's "gross bigotry" and Winter's dislike of Whitman's birthday toast of "That's the feller!" for Clapp (39). Despite this, Parry writes that during the promotion of Leaves of Grass in the Saturday Press, "Even Willy Winter made a turn-about in his smoldering enmity for Walt and published in the Saturday Press of October 20, 1860, a serious poem in the Whitmanian style. Perhaps Clapp, implacable to wavering adherents in his own camp, ordered Willy to prove, in this fashion, his allegiance to him and Walt" (40).

Winter's harsh critique of Menken's performance in Mazeppa is attributed to her earlier friendship with Whitman, who Winter strongly disliked.

collaborators

Aldrich, Thomas Bailey (1836-1907)

He received "backhanded praise" from Whitman for his "poetic 'tinkles.'"

Beach, Juliette H. (1829-1900)

Beach was among the first to review "Leaves of Grass," and did so favorably, though an unfavorable review was originally tied to her.

Clapp, Henry Jr. (1814-1875)

Clapp pledged to help Whitman with Leaves of Grass and published and reviewed parts of the book in the Saturday Press.

According to Howells, without Clapp's help publicizing Leaves of Grass, Whitman's book would have been hopeless.

Lalor states "without Clapp's assistance, Whitman may not have achieved the recognition he did within his lifetime."

Parry notes that Clapp helped to spread Whitman's fame and would often show him off to visitors at the bar.

Clapp became Whitman's champion for a while. Clapp's influence helped make Whitman known and "located him on the margin of literary respectability." Clapp published reviews of Whitman's work and "nursed controversies and kept Whitman in the public eye as a radical new voice."

Clare, Ada (1836-1874)

Clare was instrumental in garnering female support for Whitman through her writing in the Saturday Press.

Emerson, Ralph Waldo (1803-1882)

Emerson reads a first edition of Whitman's Leaves of Grass and sends Whitman a letter which "greets" him "at the beginning of a great career."

Bellew discusses Emerson's reactions to other works of literature and recalls the day Emerson "drew my attention to an unbound volume of poems he had just received from New York, over which he was in raptures. It was called Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman.

Boynton notes that Emerson and Whitman shared many similar fundamental beliefs (339-340). Boynton also states that Emerson was the single man of influence to greet Whitman at the start of a great career (364).

Lalor cites Frederik Schyberg's citation of Emerson that he "had great hopes of Whitman until he became a Bohemian."

Emerson gave critical acclaim to Whitman's first edition of Leaves of Grass but distanced himself from Whitman after the second "racy" edition.

Gayler, Charles (1820-1892)

Whitman replaced Gayler at the Times. Gayler harbored bitter feelings towards Whitman for this.

House, Edward Howard (1836-1901)

It is possible that House acted as an intermediary in order to get Whitman published in the Tribune.

Menken, Adah Isaacs (1835-1868)

Menken wrote an extremely favorable review of Whitman's Leaves of Grass which was published in the Sunday Mercury.

Menken was an enthusiastic admirer of Whitman's work, and she may have written an enthusiastic review of Leaves of Grass for the Sunday Mercury.

friends

Arnold, George (1834-1865)

Upon George Arnold's death, Whitman is said to have loved and mourned him tenderly.

Beach, Juliette H. (1829-1900)

Beach and Whitman corresponded through "many beautiful letters."

An admirer of Whitman, Beach wrote many unpublished letters to him.

Beach was one of a number of women who came to Whitman's aid in defending the mention of sex and nudity in his poems.

Beach carried on a lengthy correspondence with Whitman against her husband's wishes.

Bloom, Nathaniel

Bloom was a friend of Whitman's and recieved letters from him.

Bloom and Whitman were close friends.

Booth, Edwin (1833-1893)

Edwin Booth was one of the thirty-two contributors who contributed ten dollars apiece to purchase a horse and buggy for Whitman in 1884-1885.

Burroughs, John (1837-1921)

Allen writes that Burroughs became an "intimate friend" of Whitman in 1863 (267). Allen calls Whitman's friendship with Burroughs "one of the truly major friendships in Whitman's life" (299).

Burroughs first met Whitman in Washington, D.C., in 1863, but he "had started frequenting Pfaff's beerhall in New York [several years earlier] in the hope of meeting Whitman, whose work he greatly admired."

Whitman co-authored Burroughs's biography.

Burroughs was introduced to future friend Walt Whitman by Henry Clapp at Pfaff's.

Chauncey, Charles (1838-1863)

Whitman asks after him in a letter to Nat Bloom and Fred Gray dated March 19, 1863.

Clapp, Henry Jr. (1814-1875)

Clapp is mentioned as both a friend of Whitman and an advocate of his poetry.

Lalor writes that of all the people Whitman would encounter and associate with at Pfaff's, Clapp was the "individual most closely related" to him and "the most beneficial."

Clapp was most valued by Whitman during Whitman's visits to Pfaff's and during the early days of Leaves of Grass.

Whitman recalls his loyalty during early days of Leaves of Grass. Clapp and the Saturday Press were much needed allies.

Clare, Ada (1836-1874)

Clare was friends with Whitman, who defended her character after her death.

Whitman claims to have been very friendly with her and describes her as "brilliant, bright, and handsome. She went on the stage, I think, and then melted out of sight."

Holloway described her as appealing to Whitman both personally and as a model of a new woman.

According to Parry, Whitman admired her as "a New Woman born too soon."

Charles Pfaff and Whitman reminisce about the old days, and mention Clare's name as a friend who is missed.

Emerson, Ralph Waldo (1803-1882)

Emerson once wrote of taking Whitman to dinner at a fancy New York hotel and then being escorted by Whitman to "a noisy fire-engine society" which was most likely Pfaff's.

Whitman once brought Emerson to Pfaff's, where Emerson called the residents "noisy and rowdy firemen and could not understand what bonds they claimed with Walt."

Gray, John Frederick Schiller (1840-1891)

Whitman dined at Pfaff's in September, 1862, with Fred Gray.

Leland, Charles Godfrey (1824-1903)

Leland befriended Whitman in the 1870's (506). Whitman admired Leland for his "easy association with 'Bohemians and bummers'" (507-508).

Menken, Adah Isaacs (1835-1868)

Menken was one of the women that came to Whitman's aid in defending his controversial poems.

O'Brien, Fitz-James (1828-1862)

Stedman, Edmund Clarence (1833-1908)

Donaldson includes Stedman among the list of friends of Whitmann (198).

He describes Stedman as a friend, supporter, and admirer of Whitman and claims his name is "a synonym for elegance, purity of mind, and thorough cultivation, and the possession of the grace of harmonious and euphonious poetic diction" (213).

Donaldson also includes a letter from Stedman to Whitman (213-4).

Taylor, Bayard (1825-1878)

Allen mentions that Taylor visited with Whitman around the winter holidays in 1867 (378).
In 1871, Taylor, "recently a friend of Whitman" wrote a parody of Whitman that appeared in the Tribune:
"Who was it that sang of the procreant urge, recounted sextillions of subjects?
Who but myself, the Kosmos, yawping abroad, concerned not at all about either the effect or the answer" (433).
This, and other parodies were written in response to Whitman's attempt to substitute for Greeley at the National Industrial Exhibition (433). After this satire, Whitman "detested" Taylor and was disappointed when Taylor was asked to deliver a poem at the Centennial Celebration in Philadelpia (463).

A letter from Walt Whitman to Bayard Taylor, thanking him for a book, and asking him to come visit at the Attorney General’s office where Whitman is employed.

Vedder, Elihu (1836-1923)

de Gurowski, Adam (1805-1866)

Epstein claims de Gurowski brought with him an air of romance and intellectual arrogance and that he idolized Whitman.

lovers

Beach, Juliette H. (1829-1900)

Beach may have believed herself to be in love with Whitman, though it is unclear.

Clapp, Henry Jr. (1814-1875)

Stansell observes that the way Whitman referred to Clapp is similar to "the sort of evasion and half-glimpse which Whitman often used as a sexual code" and suggests that the two might have been lovers.

Clare, Ada (1836-1874)

Reynolds says that during the Pfaff's period Whitman "appeared to have had a brief affair with a woman, possibly Ada Clare."

Eyre, Ellen

Allen writes that in the spring of 1862, Whitman may have had an affair with a woman who is identified only as "Ellen Eyre."

Ellen Eyre is the pen name of a woman who wrote Whitman a love letter that was delivered to Pfaff's on Tuesday, March 25, 1862.

Reynolds interprets a letter sent to Whitman signed with this name to suggest that the sender and Whitman had been intimate the previous night.

Grey, Ellen

Grey may have had a love affair with Whitman. He kept a picture of her until his death.