Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Whitelaw Reid, 23 May [1882]

Date: May 23, 1882

Whitman Archive ID: loc.00534

Source: Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 3:281. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Stefan Schoeberlein, Nima Najafi Kianfar, Eder Jaramillo, and Nicole Gray

May 23d

My dear Reid

Couldn't you feel to print the above say for instance in the Bits of Criticism in next Sunday's Tribune?2

Walt Whitman


1. This letter is endorsed (in unknown hand): "Not answered." [back]

2. At the top of the page Whitman wrote: "? Under Bits of Criticism | in Sunday Tribune | A defence of Walt Whitman | From the Philadelphia Press." Immediately below appeared the editorial from the Press of May 22. According to Whitman's Commonplace Book, Whitman sent similar letters (lost) to the editors of the Boston Herald (see the letter from Whitman to William D. O'Connor of May 25, 1882), the Boston Globe, the Boston Post, and to Crosley Stuart Noyes, an old friend and the editor of the Washington Evening Star (Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). The Camden Daily Post copied the article in the Press on May 22. Though the Tribune apparently did not reprint the editorial, it published on May 15 Whitman's "Emerson's Books, (the Shadows of them)," which appeared in 1880 in The Literary World (see the letter from Whitman to John Burroughs of May 9, 1880). Whitman was supported, not without reservations in some instances, by the following newspapers: the Philadelphia Times on May 23, the Chicago Inter Ocean on May 22 and 23, the Chicago Herald on May 23, the New York Home Journal on May 24, the Boston Liberty and the Cambridge (Mass.) Chronicle on May 27, the Boston Globe on May 28, the Audubon County (Iowa) Sentinel on May 31(?), and the Woodstown (N.J.) Register on June 6. He was attacked, often with hysteria, by the following: the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin on May 23, the Boston Daily Advertiser on May 24, the Cincinnati Ohio on May 24, The Christian Intelligencer (quoted in the New York Tribune on June 4), and the Philadelphia Times on July 17. For the Springfield Republican and the Boston Herald, see the letter from Whitman to O'Connor of May 25, 1882; for The Critic, see the letter from Whitman to Jeannette L. and Joseph B. Gilder of June 3, 1882[back]


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