Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Thayer & Eldridge to Walt Whitman, 10 February 1860

Date: February 10, 1860

Whitman Archive ID: loc.00560

Source: The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 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.

Editorial note: The annotation, "first proposition of Thayer & Eldridge Feb 10 '60," is in the hand of Walt Whitman.

Contributors to digital file: Alex Kinnaman, Elizabeth Lorang, Blake Bronson-Bartlett, Eric Conrad, Kathryn Kruger, Nick Krauter, and Nicole Gray

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Feb 10/60.

Walt Whitman
Dr Sir.

We want to be the publishers of Walt. Whitman's poems—Leaves of Grass.—When the book was first issued we were clerks in the establishment we now own.1 We read the book with profit and pleasure. It is a true poem and writ by a true man.

When a man dares to speak his thought in this day of refinement—so called—it is difficult to find his mates to act amen to it. Now we want to be known as the publishers of Walt. Whitman's books, and put our name as such under his, on title pages.—If you will allow it we can and will put your books into good form, and style attractive to the eye; we can and will sell a large number of copies; we have great facilities by and through numberless Agents in selling. We can dispose of more books than most publishing houses (we do not "puff" here but speak truth).

We are young men. We "celebrate" ourselves by acts. Try us. You can do us good. We can do you good—pecuniarily.

Now Sir, if you wish to make acquaintance with us, and accept us as your publishers, we will offer to either buy the stereotype plates of Leaves of Grass, or pay you for the use of them, in addition to regular copyright.

Are you writing other poems? Are they ready for the press? Will you let us read them? Will you write us? Please give us your residence

Yours Fraternally
Thayer & Eldridge.

Thayer and Eldridge was a Boston publishing firm responsible for the third edition of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass (1860). For more on Whitman's relationship with Thayer and Eldridge, see "Thayer, William Wilde (1829–1896) and Charles W. Eldridge (1837–1903)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


1. Thayer and Eldridge worked as clerks for the Boston publishing firm Dayton and Wentworth, located at 114–116 Washington Street. [back]


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