Title: Walt Whitman to William Sloane Kennedy, 19 April 1887
Date: April 19, 1887
Source: The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 4:84–85. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.
Location: Trent Collection of Whitmaniana, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University
Whitman Archive ID: duk.00841
Contributors to digital file: Stefan Schöberlein, Ryan Furlong, Kevin McMullen, and Stephanie Blalock
328 Mickle Street
Camden N J
April 19 '87
Am here in my little old shanty again, & every thing ab't as usual —Stood it very well in N Y1—it was a good break f'm my monotonous days here, but if I had stayed long, I sh'd have been killed with kindness & attention—I rec'd $250—Y'rs just come. Thanks—
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. Whitman is referring to his lecture entitled "The Death of Abraham Lincoln," which he delivered in New York City on Thursday, April 14, 1887. He first delivered this lecture in New York in 1879 and would deliver it at least eight other times over the succeeding years, delivering it for the last time on April 15, 1890. He had published a version of the lecture as "Death of Abraham Lincoln" in Specimen Days (1882–83). For more on the lecture, see Larry D. Griffin, "'Death of Abraham Lincoln,'" Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings, ed. (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998), 169–170. [back]