Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Richard Worthington to Walt Whitman, 29 September 1879

Date: September 29, 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.00312

Contributors to digital file: Kirsten Clawson, Nima Najafi Kianfar, Eder Jaramillo, Nicole Gray, and Stefan Schöberlein



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R. WORTHINGTON,1
PUBLISHER,
750 BROADWAY.
New York,
Sept 29th 1879.
Mr Walt Whitman
Camden
N.J.

Dear Sir:

We have recently purchased at the Auction Rooms of Messrs Geo. A. Leavitt Co of this city the electrotype plates of an edition of your "Leaves of Grass" bearing the imprint of Thayer and Eldridge, Boston 1860–61.2 As the edition is not complete although subject as I understand to a copyright of ten percent it seems to me that it would be better for all parties to have it completed. If this idea meets your views on the subject I would be willing to make you an immediate payment of $250.00 on account and will [do?] everything in my power to make the book sell.3

An early reply would oblige

Your Truly
R. Worthington

P.S. Porter & Coates, Claxton Remsen & Hafflefinger of Philadelphia or Gebbie & Harris or any of the leading Houses of the country would inform you that I am perfectly responsible & that you are sure of getting your copyright.

R. W.


Notes:

1. Richard Worthington was a New York printer who published and sold unauthorized editions of Whitman's Leaves of Grass, printed from the plates of the 1860 edition. For more on Worthington and the piracy controversey, see Jerome Loving, Walt Whitman: The Song of Himself (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000), 401, and Ed Folsom, "Whitman Making Books/Books Making Whitman: A Catalog and Commentary.[back]

2. For more on Thayer and Eldridge, publishers of the third edition of Leaves of Grass, see "Thayer, William Wilde (1829–1896) and Charles W. Eldridge (1837–1903)."  [back]

3. For a discussion of the Worthington affair, see the letter from Whitman to Richard Watson Gilder of November 26, 1880, where Worthington's letter, which Whitman misinterpreted, is quoted. [back]


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