Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Richard Watson Gilder to Walt Whitman, 1 July 1887

Date: July 1, 1887

Whitman Archive ID: hsp.00006

Source: Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 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.

Contributors to digital file: Alex Kinnaman, Stefan Schöberlein, Ian Faith, and Stephanie Blalock

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Marion, Mass,
1st July 1887.

My dear Whitman,

I am delighted that you liked Miss Phelps's story1 so well. We sent your card on to her—knowing she would prize it. The story has made a profound impression.

R.W. Gilder

I wish we could put you in front of our big chimney.

Richard Watson Gilder (1844–1909) was the assistant editor of Scribner's Monthly from 1870 to 1881 and editor of its successor, The Century, from 1881 until his death. Whitman had met Gilder for the first time in 1877 at John H. Johnston's (Gay Wilson Allen, The Solitary Singer [New York: New York University Press, 1955], 482). Whitman attended a reception and tea given by Gilder after William Cullen Bryant's funeral on June 14; see "A Poet's Recreation" in the New York Tribune, July 4, 1878. Whitman considered Gilder one of the "always sane men in the general madness" of "that New York art delirium" (Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Sunday, August 5, 1888). For more about Gilder, see Susan L. Roberson, "Gilder, Richard Watson (1844–1909)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


1. The early feminist and spiritual novelist Elizabeth Stuart Phelps (1844–1911) was the author of The Gates Ajar (1868); she published frequently in The Century, and her story "Jack the Fisherman" appeared in the June 1887 issue. [back]


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