Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Ferdinand Freiligrath, 26 January 1869

Date: January 26, 1869

Whitman Archive ID: har.00054

Source: Manuscripts Department, Houghton Library, Harvard University. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 2:78. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Kenneth M. Price, Elizabeth Lorang, Zachary King, and Eric Conrad

Attorney General's Office,
Jan. 26, 1869.

Dear Mr. Freiligrath:1

I have sent you to-day by ocean mail, a copy of my latest printed Leaves of Grass—not knowing whether you have received the package forwarded for you by a friend2 of mine last November. I should be well pleased indeed to hear from you. My address is,

Walt Whitman,
Washington, D. C.
U. S. America


1. Ferdinand Freiligrath (1810–1876) was a German poet and translator and friend of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. His review in the Augsburg Allgemeinen Zeitung on April 24, 1868 (reprinted in his Gesammelte Dichtungen [Stuttgart: G. J. Göschen, 1871], 4:86–89), was among the first notices of Walt Whitman's poetry on the continent. (A translation of the article appeared in the New Eclectic Magazine, 2 [July 1868], 325–329; see also Gay Wilson Allen, Walt Whitman Abroad [Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1955], 3–7.) Freiligrath had promised his readers "some translated specimens of the poet's productions," not a complete translation. A sympathetic article on Whitman in the New York Sontagsblatt of November 1, 1868, mentioned Freiligrath's admiration for the American poet. A translation of this article, which Whitman had a Washington friend prepare, is now in the Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. [back]

2. William D. O'Connor acted as emissary between Whitman and Freiligrath. Whitman's September 27, 1868 letter to O'Connor indicated that O'Connor had provided Whitman with Freiligrath's address, and in his October 4, 1868 letter, Whitman asked O'Connor to write a letter to Freiligrath to follow a package Whitman sent to Freiligrath on November 11, 1868. [back]


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