Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to William Michael Rossetti, 30 May 1886

Date: May 30, 1886

Whitman Archive ID: lcl.00001

Source: Liverpool Central Library. 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: Stefan Schöberlein, Kyle Barton, and Nicole Gray

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328 Mickle street
Camden New Jersey U S America
May 30 1886

My dear friend

Yours of May 17, enclosing the fifth instalment £29.18.3 is just now safely received, making altogether—

September 1885—£ 22. 2.6
October 20 " 37.12.
November 28 " 31.19.
January 25, 188633.16.1
May 17 " 29.18.3
£ 155.9.9

for which I indeed, indeed thank you, and all—We have beautiful sunshiny weather here, & I am sitting by my open window writing this—

—If Herbert Gilchrist2 prints the circular you spoke of, send it me—send me three or four copies. I send best respects & love to my British contributor-friends—they have done me more good than they think for.3

Walt Whitman

William Michael Rossetti (1829–1915), brother of Dante Gabriel and Christina Rossetti, was an English editor and a champion of Whitman's work. In 1868, Rossetti edited Whitman's Poems, selected from the 1867 Leaves of Grass. Whitman referred to Rossetti's edition as a "horrible dismemberment of my book" in his August 12, 1871, letter to Frederick S. Ellis. Nonetheless, the edition provided a major boost to Whitman's reputation, and Rossetti would remain a staunch supporter for the rest of Whitman's life, drawing in subscribers to the 1876 Leaves of Grass and fundraising for Whitman in England. For more on Whitman's relationship with Rossetti, see Sherwood Smith, "Rossetti, William Michael (1829–1915)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


1. The entry in Whitman's Commonplace Book for this date lists the sum as £33.16.6 (Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). [back]

2. Herbert Harlakenden Gilchrist (1857–1914), son of Alexander and Anne Gilchrist, was an English painter and editor of Anne Gilchrist: Her Life and Writings (London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1887). For more information, see Marion Walker Alcaro, "Gilchrist, Herbert Harlakenden (1857–1914)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]

3. Rossetti distributed a facsimile of this letter to the donors, eighty or more of whom are listed on the verso with their contributions. Among the donors were Henry James, Robert Louis Stevenson, John Addington Symonds, George Saintsbury, and Edward Dowden. [back]


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