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Mrs. Anne Gilchrist (c.1882)
Anne Gilchrist (1828 – November 29, 1885), née Burrows, was an Englishmarker writer who travelled to the United Statesmarker, initially to visit Walt Whitman.

She came from a distinguished Essex family, and married Alexander Gilchrist in 1851. The marriage, one of intellectual equals, was cut short when Alexander died of scarlet fever in 1861. She completed his Life of Blake and was an active contributor to magazines.

Anne is perhaps best-known for developing a deep attachment to Walt Whitman when she read Leaves of Grass in 1869, and for writing the first great criticism of that work, A Woman's Estimate of Walt Whitman‎; their correspondence was initiated through William Michael Rossetti. When she eventually travelled to Philadelphiamarker, in 1876, she met Whitman and they formed a lasting friendship. She moved to New Englandmarker in 1878, but returned to England the following year. Later, she published a biography of Mary Lamb.

She and Alexander had four children: Percy, Beatrice, Herbert, and Grace. One of the reasons for the family’s move to Philadelphia was Beatrice's desire to attend medical school. Beatrice eventually became a physician in Edinburghmarker, but took her own life shortly thereafter. Percy had a successful career in the mining industry, and Herbert was a minor painter.


Further reading

  • Walt Whitman's Mrs. G: A Biography of Anne Gilchrist (1991), Marion Walker Alcaro, ISBN 0-8386-3381-1.
  • Anne Gilchrist: Life and Writings (Unwin, 1887) ed. Herbert Harlakenden Gilchrist.

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