Commentary

Selected Criticism

Title:
Fritzinger, Frederick Warren (1866-1899)
Author:
Krieg, Joann P.
Print source:
J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings, eds., Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998), reproduced by permission.

Whitman's nurse in his final illness, Frederick Warren Fritzinger, or "Warry," as he was known, was a sailor before coming to stay at 328 Mickle Street.  He and his brother Henry (whose son was named Walter Whitman Fritzinger) had been raised by Mrs. Mary Davis, Whitman's Camden housekeeper, and Warry came to help her care for Whitman in October 1889.Whitman was very fond of him and spoke to J.W. Wallace of his good nature.Fritzinger met Wallace and Dr. J. Johnston when they visited Camden and maintained contact with them after their return to Bolton, England.  In a series of four letters written in 1891 and 1892, Fritzinger provided Wallace and Johnston with news of Whitman's last illness.  The letters reveal a warm and affectionate caretaker.  Whitman's final words, "Shift, Warry," were addressed to Fritzinger as a request to be turned in his bed.

Following Whitman's death, Fritzinger testified on behalf of Davis in her lawsuit brought against George Whitman for recovery of money she believed he owed her.  He later married and worked as a clerk in a Camden shop.  A photograph by Johnston taken at the Camden wharf in 1890 shows Fritzinger with Whitman.

Bibliography 

Folsom, Ed.  "'This Heart's Geography's Map': The Photographs of Walt Whitman."  Spec. issue of Walt Whitman Quarterly Review 4.2–3 (1986–1987): 37.

Keller, Elizabeth Leavitt.  Walt Whitman in Mickle Street.  New York: Kennerley, 1921.

Krieg, Joann P.  "Letters from Warry."  Walt Whitman Quarterly Review 11 (1994): 163–173.


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