Title: Walt Whitman to William Sloane Kennedy, 17 June 
Date: June 17, 1886
Source: The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 4:33. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.
Location: The Trent Collection of Whitmaniana, Duke University Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library
Whitman Archive ID: duk.00812
Contributors to digital file: Stefan Schöberlein and Kyle Barton
June 17—p m
I have rec'd the Ruskin "Art" booklet1—thanks—Am ab't as usual in health—hot weather here to-day—
William Sloane Kennedy (1850–1929) was on the staff of the Philadelphia American and later published biographies of Longfellow and Whittier (Dictionary of American Biography). Apparently Kennedy had called on the poet for the first time on November 21, 1880 (William Sloane Kennedy, Reminiscences of Walt Whitman , 1). Though Kennedy was to become a fierce defender of Whitman, in his first published article he admitted reservations about the "coarse indecencies of language" and protested that Whitman's ideal of democracy was "too coarse and crude"; see The Californian, 3 (February 1881), 149–158. For more about Kennedy, see Katherine Reagan, "Kennedy, William Sloane (1850–1929)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).
1. Art and Life: A Ruskin Anthology (1886). In an undated letter to Whitman written about January 2, William Sloane Kennedy had disparaged his own work: "Am hard at work on a Ruskin Anthology for Pirate [John B.] Alden, & feel rather knavish over the job." Kennedy called on the poet on June 3 and 6 (William Sloane Kennedy, Reminiscences of Walt Whitman , 4-9). [back]