Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to George C. Cox, 14 June 1887

Date: June 14, 1887

Whitman Archive ID: duk.00868

Source: Trent Collection of Whitmaniana, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Ted Genoways (Iowa City, Iowa: University of Iowa Press, 2004), 7:89. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Ryan Furlong, Stefan Schöberlein, Caterina Bernardini, Marie Ernster, and Stephanie Blalock

328 Mickle Street
Camden New Jersey1
June 14 '87

Your note rec'd—& I have been looking for the proofs, (pictures specimens) ever since, but none yet come—I have no objection to either of your plans—will sign autographically & cooperate—send on the proofs, specimens, all of them2

Walt Whitman

George Collins "G. C." Cox (1851–1903) was a well-known celebrity photographer who had taken photographs of Whitman when the poet was in New York to give his lecture on Abraham Lincoln (his Lincoln lecture) in April 1887. "The Laughing Philosopher," one of the most famous photographs of Whitman, was taken by Cox in 1887.


1. This letter is addressed: Mr Cox | photographer | cor: Broadway & 12th street | New York City. It is postmarked: Camden, NJ | June 14 | 3 PM | 87. [back]

2. George Cox proposed selling signed copies of his photographs of Walt Whitman. However, when the September 1887 issue of Century appeared with an advertisement, Whitman still had not seen proofs, much less signed the photographs. He wrote John H. Johnston on September 1, 1887, "He sell my photo, with autograph. The latter is forged, & the former illegal & unauthorized." The disagreement was quickly resolved, and Walt Whitman signed photographs for Cox and returned them September 15[back]


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