Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Thayer & Eldridge to Walt Whitman, 11 October 1860

Date: October 11, 1860

Whitman Archive ID: loc.00579

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, "Thayer & Eldridge just before the failure," is in the hand of Walt Whitman.

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

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Oct 11, 1860

Dear Walt,

We received your letters with the advertisement which will be attended to.1 We cannot however stereotype your little book now, as we have so much already underway. We shall hardly be ready for it under two months, but shall certainly commence on it by the first of January.

In regard to money matters, we are very short ourselves and it is quite impossible to send you the sum you name. We would if we could.2

Business will be stagnant with us till after the Presidential election when with our new books we shall get up a rush,

Ever Yours
Thayer & Eldridge.

P.S. We will let you know when we are ready for the Banner at Daybreak, so as to give you ample time to make preparations to come on

Thayer and Eldridge was the 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 David Breckenridge Donlon, "Thayer, William Wilde (1829–1896) and Charles W. Eldridge (1837–1903)."


1. Whitman had sent Thayer and Eldridge the text for a full-page announcement of his proposed new volume of poetry,The Banner At Day-Break (though the book was never published). The advertisement discussed here appears at the back of William Douglas O'Connor's Harrington and describes The Banner At Day-Break as "a handsome volume of about 200 pages," including the new poems "Banner At Day-Break," "Washington's First Battle," "Errand-Bearers," "Pictures," "Quadrel," "The Ox-Tamer," "Poemet," "Mannahatta," "The Days," and "Sonnets," plus a "supplement containing criticism." (For a discussion of Whitman's plans for The Banner At Day-Break, see Ted Genoways, Walt Whitman and the Civil War [University of California Press, 2009], 77–103.) [back]

2. Whitman had asked for an advance against future royalties but Thayer and Eldridge were unable to fulfill his request. [back]


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