Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Peter Eckler to Walt Whitman, 4 May 1865

Date: May 4, 1865

Whitman Archive ID: loc.00855

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.

Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, Vanessa Steinroetter, Eric Conrad, and Heidi Bean

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New York
May 4th, 18651

Mr. Walt Whitman

To Ballance bill Printing "Drum Taps" $34.85 Paid

P. Eckler2


1. On April 1, 1865, Whitman signed a contract with Eckler to stereotype 500 copies for $254.00: "The workmanship is to be first class in every respect & to be completed, & the printed sheets delivered within one month from this date" (F. DeWolfe Miller, ed., Drum-Taps [Gainesville, FL: Scholars' Facsimiles & Reprints, 1959], xxxv). The contract called for "one hundred & twenty pages," but since the book contained only 72 pages, Eckler submitted on April 22 a bill for $192.85, of which $138.00 had been paid. According to Whitman's notations on the statement, he paid $20.00 on April 26 and again on May 2. Whitman sent another letter on May 3 in answer to Eckler's request of May 1 that the balance be paid. Eckler issued this receipt for $34.85 on May 4, and included a receipt from Coridon A. Alvord, printer, for the stereotype plates, which he had placed in his vault. On April 26, Eckler had informed Whitman that the book was "now to press" and would "be ready for the Binders next Monday morning." For details on the printing history and organization of Drum-Taps see Ted Genoways, "The Disorder of Drum-Taps," Walt Whitman Quarterly Review 24 (Fall 2006/Winter 2007), 98–116. [back]

2. On the back of this receipt is a note, presumably written by Whitman, that reads, "Bill of P. Eckler balance Paid in full." Also enclosed with this receipt is a note with writing on one side by Eckler and on the other side by Jeffries[?]: "Recd from Mr. Peter Eckler The stereotype plates of Drum Taps in one box [illegible] Jeffries New York May 1st, 1865." Eckler writes, "Deliver the above[?] stereotype plates to Mr. Walt Whitman or order. Peter Eckler New York, May 4, 1865." The back of this note reads, "New [illegible] Mr. Ahrend's receipt for stereotype plates." [back]


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