Thursday, March 29, 2012

Peter Doyle

Walt Whitman's friend and lover, Peter Doyle, was the son of Irish immigrants, grew up in Alexandria, Virginia, and fought in the Confederate army. He was working as a streetcar conductor when he met Whitman, and the two hit it off right away. Doyle was at Ford's Theater during Lincoln's assassination and might have inspired Whitman's Memoranda During the War. Most of their relationship is understood through their correspondence, and Doyle permitted the publication of Whitman's letters to him. Whitman and Doyle enjoyed spending time with each other's families and often shared poems and limericks. According to Ed Folsom and Kenneth M. Price in their biographical essay "Walt Whitman," to Whitman, "Doyle represented America's future: healthy, witty, handsome, good-humored, hard-working, enamored of good times, he gave Whitman's life some energy and hope during an otherwise bleak time." Doyle even nursed Whitman when his health was failing.

The Walt Whitman Archive
Gay History Project:

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