Title: Talcott Williams to Walt Whitman, 15 April 1886
Date: April 15, 1886
Editorial note: The annotation, "T. Wms," is in an unknown hand.
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.04871
Contributors to digital file: Alex Kinnaman, Stefan Schöberlein, Ian Faith, Kyle Barton, and Nicole Gray
Ye Painte Shoppe,
1833 SPRUCE STREET
April 15. 1886
My dear Mr. Whitman
It is so late that I must deny myself the pleasure of coming over tomorrow and placing the proceeds in your hands. Instead I hand you these checks, as follows
|S Weir Mitchell1||100|
|H H. Furness||50|
|J B Lippincott Co.||25|
The Asherah, a little society made up of Chai Leland Harrison, Lincoln Eyre, Wilson Eyre, Thos. Wharton, Carl Edelheim
|R. W. Gilder2||25|
|C. B. Bryant||10|
|Mrs Talcott Williams4||5|
|Miss Horrie Royce||5|
I shall be over in a day or two. It would give me, personally, very great pleasure, if it struck you favorably to send Dr. Weir Mitchell an inscribed volume of your poems and a note to the J B Lippincott Co. But the last is scarcely needed.5
Talcott Williams (1849–1928) was associated with the New York Sun and World as well as the Springfield Republican before he became the editor of the Philadelphia Press in 1879. His newspaper vigorously defended Whitman in news articles and editorials after the Boston censorship of 1882. For more information about Williams, see Philip W. Leon, "Williams, Talcott (1849–1928)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).
1. Dr. Silas Weir Mitchell (1829–1914) was a specialist in nervous disorders as well as a poet and a novelist. In 1878, Whitman met with Dr. Mitchell, who attributed his earlier paralysis to a small rupture of a blood vessel in the brain but termed Whitman's heart "normal and healthy" (see Whitman's letter to Louisa Orr Whitman of April 13–14, 1878). Whitman also noted that "the bad spells [Mitchell] tho't recurrences by habit (? sort of automatic)" (Whitman's Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). For more, see Jennifer A. Hynes, "Mitchell, Silas Weir (1829–1914)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]
2. Richard Watson Gilder (1844–1909) was the assistant editor of Scribner's Monthly from 1870 to 1881 and editor of its successor, The Century, from 1881 until his death. Whitman had met Gilder for the first time in 1877 at John H. Johnston's (Gay Wilson Allen, The Solitary Singer [New York: New York University Press, 1955], 482). Whitman attended a reception and tea given by Gilder after William Cullen Bryant's funeral on June 14; see "A Poet's Recreation" in the New York Tribune, July 4, 1878. Whitman considered Gilder one of the "always sane men in the general madness" of "that New York art delirium" (Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Sunday, August 5, 1888). For more about Gilder, see Susan L. Roberson, "Gilder, Richard Watson (1844–1909)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]
3. David McKay (1860–1918) took over Philadelphia-based publisher Rees Welsh's bookselling and publishing businesses in 1881–2. McKay and Rees Welsh published the 1881 edition of Leaves of Grass after opposition from the Boston District Attorney prompted James R. Osgood & Company of Boston, the publisher Whitman had originally contracted with for publication of the volume, to withdraw. McKay also went on to publish Specimen Days & Collect, November Boughs, Gems from Walt Whitman, and Complete Prose Works. For more information about McKay, see Joel Myerson, "McKay, David (1860–1918)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]
4. Sophia Wells Royce Williams (1850–1928), a writer and frequent visitor (with her husband) to Whitman's Camden, New Jersey, home. [back]
5. There is no record of Whitman doing either. [back]