Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Laura Curtis Bullard to Walt Whitman, 3 May 1876

Date: May 3, 1876

Whitman Archive ID: loc.01082

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 notes: The annotations, "sent May 6 '76," and "Bullard," are in the hand of Walt Whitman. The annotation, "see notes Jan 7 1889," is in the hand of Horace Traubel.

Contributors to digital file: Alex Kinnaman, Elizabeth Lorang, John Schwaninger, Ashley Lawson, Kevin McMullen, Caterina Bernardini, Nicole Gray, Marie Ernster, Erel Michaelis, Amanda J. Axley, and Stephanie Blalock

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35 East 39th St
New York City.
May 3d 1876.

Mr Whitman,
Dear Sir,

My friend & yours Mr Joaquin Miller1 tells me that the best way to gratify a long-cherished wish of mine, ie, to have a complete edition of your poems, is to write to you directly for a copy of them—I therefore follow his advice—

If you will write your own name on the fly leaf of the volumes, it will be a great favor to me & most-highly appreciated—

I was one of the earliest readers of your Leaves of Grass, that unique book, which so startled the many & so delighted the few—Permit me to congratulate you & to feel a little pride myself as an American that you have received such abundant recognition from the greatest men of our age both abroad & at home; & when I remember your work during our dreadful war, my heart as well as my pride is touched, & I cannot though a stranger to you, forbear presenting to the true man a [nobler?] title even than that of the true poet, my profoundest respect & admiration—

With sincere regard, yours
Laura Curtis Bullard

Laura Curtis Bullard (1831–1912) was an American author and women's activist.


1. Joaquin Miller was the pen name of Cincinnatus Heine Miller (1837–1913), an American poet nicknamed "Byron of the Rockies" and "Poet of the Sierras." In 1871, the Westminster Review described Miller as "leaving out the coarseness which marked Walt Whitman's poetry" (297). In an entry in his journal dated August 1, 1871, the naturalist John Burroughs recorded Whitman's fondness for Miller's poetry; see Clara Barrus, Whitman and Burroughs—Comrades (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1931), 60. Whitman met Miller for the first time in 1872; he wrote of a visit with Miller in a July 19, 1872, letter to his former publisher and fellow clerk Charles W. Eldridge. [back]


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