Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Henry Norman to Walt Whitman, 3 February 1887

Date: February 3, 1887

Whitman Archive ID: loc.00720

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, "Henry Norman," is in the hand of Walt Whitman.

Contributors to digital file: Alex Ashland, Stefan Schöberlein, Nicole Gray, Ian Faith, Kevin McMullen, and Stephanie Blalock

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February 3. 87
Pall Mall Gazette
Northumberland Street,

Friend Whitman

Many thanks for your letter and the papers you sent, most of which we have quoted in the paper. I am sorry, however, to see in The Camden Courier you sent me, the following extract from an interview in The Philadelphia Press:

I received a handsome New Year's present of £80 from Sir Edward Malet, British embassador at Berlin;2 Lord Ronald Gower3 and A. Gerstenberg,4 a wealthy Hebrew in the British army.

The present you received, was not from these gentlemen, but from the readers of the Pall Mall Gazette, who were your friends,5 and Sir Edward Malet's and Mr. Gerstenberg's names were given to us, and by me to you, in strict confidence. In mentioning the New Year's gift again, please describe it as that of the paper and not of these individuals, whose initials only were given.

With best wishes from us all, and with congratulations on the tardy pension,6 of which the Cable brings us word.

I am,
Yours always sincerely
Henry Norman.

Sir Henry Norman (1858–1939) was a writer and liberal politican from England. After moving to the United States to study at Harvard, he wrote for the Pall Mall Gazette and the News Chronicle.


1. This letter is addressed: U.S. America. | Mr. Walt Whitman | 325 Mickle Street | Camden | New Jersey. It is postmarked: Charing Cross W. C. | [illegible] | [illegible] | 87. There is at least one additional postmark on the back of the envelope, but it is entirely illegible. [back]

2. Sir Edward Baldwin Malet (1837–1908) was a diplomat from England, representing Britain in the various German states (before 1871) as well as other countries around the world. [back]

3. Lord Ronald Charles Sutherland-Leveson-Gower (1845–1916) was a liberal politican and writer from Scotland. [back]

4. Arnold Gerstenberg, a graduate of Trinity College, Cambridge, and a Lieutenant in Her Majesty's 20th Regiment of Hussars; he committed suicide in October 1887. See The London Gazette (December 9, 1887), 6895. [back]

5. For Whitman's response to the gift, see the letter from Whitman to Henry Norman of January 3, 1887[back]

6. Given the poet's precarious financial situation, many of his supporters in the late 1880s lobbied for granting Whitman a war pension for his services during the Civil War. Representative Henry B. Lovering proposed a bill to the House in 1887 that would have secured a $25/month pension for Whitman. Ultimately, the bill was dropped, though, possibly because of an objection by Whitman. [back]


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