Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to William Sloane Kennedy, 23 December [1886]

Date: December 23, 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), 4:60. 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.00827

Contributors to digital file: Stefan Schöberlein, Ian Faith, Kyle Barton, and Nicole Gray




Camden
Dec. 23

I send you three little French pamphlets & one Scotch—When through reading them (no hurry) send the whole to Wm D O'Connor, Life Saving Service, Washington D C1—I am ab't same as usual again—Merry Christmas to you & Mrs. K—


Walt Whitman


Correspondent:
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 [1896], 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).

Notes:

1. Perhaps two of these were the (unnamed) books O'Connor sent to Whitman on December 21[back]


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