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 later published biographies of Longfellow and Whittier (Dictionary of American Biography). Apparently Kennedy had called on the poet for the first time on November 21, 1880 (William Sloane Kennedy, Reminiscences of Walt Whitman [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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