Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Charles W. Eldridge, 30 August 1887

Date: August 30, 1887

Whitman Archive ID: amh.00012

Source: Amherst College Archives and Special Collections. 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 created by Whitman Archive staff and/or were derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller, 6 vols. (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), and supplemented or updated by Whitman Archive staff.

Contributors to digital file: Alex Ashland, Stefan Schöberlein, Caterina Bernardini, and Stephanie Blalock

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Camden New Jersey1
Aug: 30 '87

Yours rec'd—thanks—Nothing specially new or different with me—Yes, I am willing Grace2 should go on with the Calendar—I have not heard a word from Wm3 at Bar Harbor—

Walt Whitman

Charles W. Eldridge (1837–1903) was one half of the Boston-based abolitionist publishing firm Thayer and Eldridge, who issued the 1860 edition of Leaves of Grass. In December 1862, on his way to find his injured brother George in Fredericksburg, Virginia, Whitman stopped in Washington and encountered Eldridge, who had become a clerk in the office of the army paymaster, Major Lyman Hapgood. Eldridge helped Whitman gain employment in Hapgood's office. For more on Whitman's relationship with Thayer and Eldridge, see David Breckenridge Donlon, "Thayer, William Wilde (1829–1896) and Charles W. Eldridge (1837–1903)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


1. This postal card is addressed: Chas: W Eldridge | p o box 1705 | Los Angeles | California. It is postmarked: Camden, N.J. | Aug 3 [illegible] | 3 P M | 87. [back]

2. In her July 7, 1887 letter to Whitman, Grace Ellery Channing requested permission "to bring out a Walt Whitman Calendar—of extracts from your Leaves of Grass." Although she begged for an immediate response, her father, William F. Channing wrote Whitman on July 29, 1887, reminding the poet that he had not replied. On August 3, 1888, in a letter to Stedman, O'Connor observed: "I worked hard to help her to select the gnomons for it—not such an easy matter with a poet like Walt" (Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). Despite the aid of Stedman, nothing came of the Calendar. For more information on Channing and the Calendar, see Joann Krieg, "Grace Ellery Channing and the Whitman Calendar," Walt Whitman Quarterly Review 12 (Spring 1995), 252–256. [back]

3. William Douglas O'Connor (1832–1889) was the author of the grand and grandiloquent Whitman pamphlet The Good Gray Poet: A Vindication, published in 1866. For more on Whitman's relationship with O'Connor, see Deshae E. Lott, "O'Connor, William Douglas (1832–1889)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]


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