Title: James R. Osgood to Walt Whitman, 31 May 1881
Date: May 31, 1881
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.
Location: The Thomas Biggs Harned Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1842–1937, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
Whitman Archive ID: loc.05158
Contributors to digital file: Stefan Schöberlein, Blake Bronson-Bartlett, Natalie O'Neal, Nicole Gray, and Elizabeth Lorang
JAMES R. OSGOOD. EDWARD L. OSGOOD. BENJAMIN H. TICKNOR. THOMAS B. TICKNOR.
JAMES R. OSGOOD & CO., Publishers.
211 TREMONT STREET.
May 31 1881
Dear Mr Whitman:
Your copy came duly to hand, and we have considered the matter, and should be glad to publish the book, provided we can meet your views as to terms. Our proposition would be to assume all the risk and pay you the usual royalty of ten per cent of the retail price on all copies sold. The question of retail price is one that needs thought. It seems to us that the price you name ($3.00) is possibly rather high. Perhaps $2.00 or $2.50 would yield a better return to both you and us. But this point we can settle later. Kindly let me know if the terms we offer are agreeable to you. I should like to hear at once, as I expect to sail for Europe next week, and should be glad to know before going, both that we may make our plans for the book here, and that I may see what can be done abroad. Tell me what your views are about the English sale. My notion would be that we should sell an Edition there, if possible, printed here from our own plates and subject to your royalty. Will this suit you?
We should like to feel clear that you can control the old Thayer & Eldrige plates, so as to stop the [issue?] of any books printed from them.
As you suggest we return by express to-day the copy, and in the same parcel we send a volume entitled "Our Poetical Favorites" which shows the style of type we should propose adopting. This book sells for $2.00 retail: we might, however, give more margin and increase the price. The binding of this volume is perhaps more ornamental than you would wish, but that is a question of detail quite apart from the other questions.
Please let me hear from you by early mail that we may lose no time in coming to a decision.
J. R. Osgood
Walt Whitman Esq.
431 Stevens St., Camden, N.J.