Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Ernest Rhys, 23 July 1889

Date: July 23, 1889

Whitman Archive ID: bms.00007

Source: British Museum. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 4:358–359. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Blake Bronson-Bartlett, Alex Ashland, Breanna Himschoot, and Stephanie Blalock

Evn'g July 23 '891

The Scottish Art Rev: with pictures has come safely2—thanks—I am here yet getting along fairly—seven weeks hot weather here—but I hug to my old den thro' all as the best I can do in my immobile condition—no sales of books3—love to all inquiring friends—am comfortable as I write—

Walt Whitman

Ernest Percival Rhys (1859–1946) was a British author and editor; he founded the Everyman's Library series of inexpensive reprintings of popular works. He included a volume of Whitman's poems in the Canterbury Poets series and two volumes of Whitman's prose in the Camelot series for Walter Scott publishers. For more information about Rhys, see Joel Myerson, "Rhys, Ernest Percival (1859–1946)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


1. This letter is addressed: Ernest Rhys | care Walter Scott, publisher | 24 Warwick Lane Paternoster | Row | London England. It is postmarked: Camden, N.J. | Jul 23 | 8 PM | 89; Philadelphia, Pa. | Jul 23 | 11 PM | Paid. [back]

2. Rhys's article "The Portraits of Walt Whitman" in the June 1889 issue of The Scottish Art Review (p. 17–24) was slapdash journalism: the painter Thomas Eakins' last name, for example, became "Eadie." [back]

3. Whitman made a similar observation in The Commonplace-Book on July 19, 1889: "No sale worth mentioning of my books by myself" (The Commonplace-Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). [back]


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