Title: Walt Whitman to Major James B. Pond, 20 April 1887
Date: April 20, 1887
Source: Transcribed from digital images or a microfilm reproduction of the original item. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.
Notes for this letter were derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller, 6 vols. (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977).
Location: The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
Whitman Archive ID: loc.03508
Contributors to digital file: Alex Ashland, Stefan Schöberlein, Kevin McMullen, and Stephanie Blalock
April 20. '87
My dear Major
James Burton Pond (1838–1903) was a famous lecture-manager and printer. He was also awarded the Medal of Honor for his services in the Civil War. In his 1900 autobiography Eccentricities of Genius (G. W. Dillingham Co: New York), he writes about Whitman: "Walt Whitman gave a few readings under my management during his life. They were mostly testimonials from friends, and benefits given in the theatres of New York City"; he concludes with an anecdote about the poet's meeting with Sir Edwin Arnold (p. 497–501).
1. This postal card is addressed: Major James B Pond | Everett House | New York City. It is postmarked: Camden, N.J. | Apr 2 [illegible] | 12 [illegible]M | 87; P.O. | 4–21–87 | 4–1P | N.Y.; D | 4–21–87 | 5 P | NY. [back]
2. Joseph Benson Gilder (1858–1936) was, with his sister Jeannette Leonard Gilder (1849–1916), co-editor of The Critic. [back]
3. Andrew Carnegie (1835–1919), the prominent industrialist and admirer of Whitman, had donated twice to the support of the aged poet. [back]
4. 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]