Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Rudolf Schmidt, 15 September 1872

Date: September 15, 1872

Source: The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 2:185–186. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Location: The Royal Library of Copenhagen

Whitman Archive ID: rlc.00007

Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, Ashley Lawson, Zachary King, and Eric Conrad




Washington,
U. S. America.
September 15, 1872.

My dear Rudolf Schmidt,1

Your letter of 17th August2 has just reached me—also the Dagbladet, (four no's.) The feuilleton about me I have just had read in English by a Dane, Mr. Bendz.3 I am deeply touched at being more and more brought right among warm human hearts in Denmark, Norway, &c—& so friendly entertained there. It comforts & nourishes me more than you know. The former letters, & the papers you have sent, have all come safely to hand—& I thank you.

I have just returned from a visit of some days to Philadelphia. It is a great materialistic city full of the middling classes, (mechanics, laborers, operatives in factories (both sexes), traders, &c)—in extraordinary physical comfort—700,000 people, & five–sixths of them well–off, in plenty of the best food & clothing, & ample & respectable houses—there are almost no very miserable & vagabond classes or quarters in the city, vast & teeming as it is.

I am now back here at work for the fall & winter—My address is permanently here—I get all your letters & papers safely. Clausen4 has not yet arrived. I have lately rec'd a paper from Pesth, Hungary, with a feuilleton about my poems.

Farewell, for this time.
Walt Whitman


Notes:

1. Schmidt, editor of For Idé og Virkelighed, wrote to Walt Whitman on October 19, 1871: "I intend to write an article about yourself and your writings in the above named periodical which is very much read in all the Scandinavian countries. . . . I therefore take the liberty to ask you, if you should not be willing to afford some new communications of yourself and your poetry to this purpose" (Library of Congress). [back]

2. Since Schmidt's letter is not extant, it is not possible to clarify the next few lines. The editor of the article in Orbis Litterarum did not find a reference to Walt Whitman in the Dagbladet[back]

3. Waldemar E. Bendz was listed as a clerk. [back]

4. Carl F. Clausen, termed in Schmidt's letter "my old friend and countryman," corresponded with Schmidt after he left Denmark in 1860; see Orbis Litterarum, 7 (1949), 34–39. The Directory in 1870 listed him as a draughtsman and in 1872 as a patent agent. He died of consumption in the middle 1870s; see Thomas Biggs Harned Collection of Walt Whitman, The Library of Congress, Notebook #108.

According to Whitman's June 4, 1872 letter to Schmidt, Clausen had gone to Denmark in June 1872.  [back]


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