Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to John W. Tilton, 6 January 1889

Date: January 6, 1889

Whitman Archive ID: duk.00910

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. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 4:264. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

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

New Jersey
Jan: 6 '89

Y'rs of 3d recd here. The big book "Complete Works"2 &c: is $6. It contains "Democratic Vistas"—With four portraits extra on loose sheets it w'd be $6.50—If you desire it, send p o money order—& send word whether you prefer by mail or express—

Walt Whitman

I can send in a little paper bound Vol: "Dem: Vistas"—50cts—if wanted—

John W. Tilton was a lawyer and politician from Haverhill, Massachusetts. He was an active member of his local school board, and was elected to his state's House of Representatives by a very narrow margin in 1878.


1. This letter is addressed: J W Tilton | Office John J. Winn | Attorney &c: | 60 Merrimack St. | Haverhill | Essex Co: Mass:. It is postmarked: Camden (?) | Jan 7 | 8 PM | 89. [back]

2. Whitman often referred to Complete Poems & Prose (1888) as his "big book." The volume was published by the poet himself in an arrangement with publisher David McKay, who allowed Whitman to use the plates for both Leaves of Grass and Specimen Days—in December 1888. With the help of Horace Traubel, Whitman made the presswork and binding decisions, and Frederick Oldach bound the volume, which included a profile photo of the poet on the title page. For more information on the book, see Ed Folsom, Whitman Making Books/Books Making Whitman: A Catalog and Commentary (University of Iowa: Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, 2005). [back]


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