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Fritsch, Hugo (?-1889)

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).