Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to John Burroughs, 20 March 1879

Date: March 20, 1879

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: Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Whitman Archive ID: yal.00236

Contributors to digital file: Alicia Bones, Grace Thomas, Anthony Dreesen, Kevin McMullen, and Kirsten Clawson



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Camden New Jersey1
noon March 20 '79

Dear John Burroughs

How are you getting along? Havn't heard from you in a long time—My splurge on the Death of Lincoln is all ready to be splurged—I should like to deliver it on Monday evening April 14 in N Y—(or Tuesday even'g—if for any reason preferable)—How about making the arrangements—some respectable second or third class hall?

Is Gilder2 off for Europe? Would not Chas: DeKay3 be a good man to help? I should have written you before—but I have been waiting a little to see if this March-April attack I had last spring wan't going to give me another hitch4—but I believe not—If the arrangements could be conveniently made, I shall positively be on hand for April 14 (or 15)—Write forthwith—Love to 'Sula—How is the young one? How Smith5 & his?

Nothing very new with me—I keep well for me—have had a good winter—Got a letter from one Riley, from Sheffield, Eng: day before yesterday—he is a friend & young chum of Ruskin—the latter accepts me, & goes it strong—he adjectives the word "glorious" for L of G6


W W


Notes:

1. The envelope for the letter bears the address: John Burroughs | Esopus-on-Hudson | New York. It is postmarked: Philadelphia | Mar | 20 | 1 PM | Pa. [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: Macmillan, 1955], 482). He attended a reception and tea given by Gilder of 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 [1906–1996], 9 vols., 2:93). [back]

3. Charles de Kay (1848–1935) was the literary and art editor of the New York Times from 1876 to 1894, and was the brother-in-law of Gilder (Clara Barrus, Whitman and Burroughs—Comrades [Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1931], 182). Whitman met de Kay at a reception given by Gilder on June 14, 1878 (Specimen Days, ed. Floyd Stovall [New York: New York University Press, 1963], 329). [back]

4. See the letters from Whitman to Herbert Gilchrist of February 6, 1879 and Beatrice Gilchrist of February 21, 1879[back]

5. Smith Caswell. [back]

6. See the postcard from Whitman to William Harrison Riley of March 18, 1879[back]


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