Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to William Sloane Kennedy, 17 October 1889

Date: October 17, 1889

Whitman Archive ID: duk.00932

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), 4:384—385. 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, Ryan Furlong, Breanna Himschoot, and Stephanie Blalock




Camden New Jersey
Oct: 17 '891

Thanks for the nice currants (I have had some for my breakfast) & the good little calamus confections by mail. Thanks to the dear western girl2—Nothing notable with me—am much the same—in good spirits—If you come across a spare number of y'r new "Transatlantic Magazine" Boston send me—Sunshiny here to day—


Walt Whitman


Correspondent:
William Sloane Kennedy (1850–1929) was on the staff of the Philadelphia American and the Boston Transcript; he also published biographies of Longfellow, Holmes, and Whittier (Dictionary of American Biography [New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1933], 336–337). Apparently Kennedy called on the poet for the first time on November 21, 1880 (William Sloane Kennedy, Reminiscences of Walt Whitman [London: Alexander Gardener, 1896], 1). Though Kennedy was to become a fierce defender of Whitman, in his first published article he admitted reservations about the "coarse indecencies of language" and protested that Whitman's ideal of democracy was "too coarse and crude"; see The Californian, 3 (February 1881), 149–158. For more about Kennedy, see Katherine Reagan, "Kennedy, William Sloane (1850–1929)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).

Notes:

1. This letter is addressed: Sloane Kennedy | Belmont | Mass:. It is postmarked: Camden, N.J. | Oct 17 | 8 PM | 89. [back]

2. On October 15, 1889, Kennedy sent currant jam and calamus caramels made by his young cousin Hattie Woodruff McDowell, who was visiting him. [back]


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