Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Melville Philips, 22 February 1890

Date: February 22, 1890

Whitman Archive ID: hun.00049

Source: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. 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, Ian Faith, and Stephanie Blalock

page image
image 1
page image
image 2

328 Mickle Street
noon Feb: 22 '90

Dear M P

y'r note rec'd an hour ago, & I send the biographic sketch if wanted. I suppose you rec'd some ten days ago the lines to be fac-simile'd to go under the portrait—also "the Commonplace" a poemet—also "the Voice" in prose for the Weekly.1—I have recd a photo proof of my phiz I suppose from the flash light—I don't like it—I send you herewith a big front head y'r artist might make something of if not too late, hasn't been printed at all any where—(but probably is)—Of this biography—and all else sent—dont fail to send me proof wh' the messenger can wait & take back—or if by mail I will send immediately back by next mail2

Walt Whitman

I shall not charge Mr M3 any thing for this Auto but will want a dozen copies of the paper without fail—

Melville Phillips was an editor at Munyon's Illustrated World and visited Whitman in Camden to request that Whitman contribute work to the journal. He also reviewed November Boughs in the Philadelphia Press, where he served as literary editor, in 1888.


1. On February 3 Whitman sent "The Commonplace" and "The Human Voice" (prose) as well as a paragraph "ab't common school teachers" to Munyon's Illustrated World—"$20 due me" (The Commonplace-Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839-1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). The poem appeared in that magazine in manuscript facsimile in March, 1891, and "The Human Voice" (later entitled "The Perfect Human Voice") in October, 1890. [back]

2. "Walt Whitman's Life" appeared in Munyon's Illustrated World in April. [back]

3. J. M. Munyon established Munyon's Illustrated World in 1884; the magazine ceased publication in 1894. Whitman mentions J. M. Munyon in his notebooks. [back]


Published Works | In Whitman's Hand | Life & Letters | Commentary | Resources | Pictures & Sound

Support the Archive | About the Archive

Distributed under a Creative Commons License. Matt Cohen, Ed Folsom, & Kenneth M. Price, editors.