Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Thomas Bailey Aldrich, 24 March 1889

Date: March 24, 1889

Whitman Archive ID: har.00039

Source: Manuscripts Department, Houghton Library, Harvard University. Transcribed from digital images or a microfilm reproduction of the original item. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Notes for this letter were created by Whitman Archive staff and/or were derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller, 6 vols. (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), and supplemented or updated by Whitman Archive staff.

Contributors to digital file: Blake Bronson-Bartlett, Caterina Bernardini, Alex Ashland, and Stephanie Blalock

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328 Mickle street
Camden New Jersey
March 24 '89

Thanks for the money & order wh' were duly rec'd—I have sent the book1 to you by express, & when you get it safely please send me a card notifying me. Am laid up here disabled & paralyzed, but getting along, & comfortable enough.

Best love to you & yours2
Walt Whitman

Thomas Bailey Aldrich (1836–1907) was associated with Henry Clapp's Saturday Press from 1858 until its final number in 1860; see Ferris Greenslet, the Life of Thomas Bailey Aldrich (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, Co., 1908), 37–49. In 1865 Aldrich left New York and returned to Boston—to gentility and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Aldrich was editor of the Atlantic Monthly from 1881 to 1890. For Aldrich's opinion of Whitman's poetry, see Greenslet, 138–139.


1. Whitman's Complete Poems & Prose (1888), a volume Whitman often referred to as the "big book," 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 for the volume. Frederick Oldach bound the book, 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]

2. Aldrich acknowledged receipt of the book on March 25, 1889. Aldrich's check for $25 is in the Houghton Library. [back]


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