Title: Walt Whitman to William Sloane Kennedy, 12 December 1886
Date: December 12, 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), 4:57–58. 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.00826
Contributors to digital file: Stefan Schöberlein and Kyle Barton
328 Mickle Street—Camden
Dec. 12 '86
Have had a bad spell of illness again but am better to-day—Have just eaten a bit of dinner for the first time in over a week—(stewed rabbit, with a piece of splendid home-made buttered bread, covered with the stew gravy)—Every thing from you rec'd & welcomed—dull weather, the ground covered with snow—(but my little bird is singing as I write)—
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).