Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Rachel M. Cox to Walt Whitman, 24 May 1876

Date: May 24, 1876

Whitman Archive ID: loc.01198

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, "from Miss R M Cox New Haven," is in the hand of Walt Whitman.

Contributors to digital file: Alex Kinnaman, Elizabeth Lorang, Eder Jaramillo, Kevin McMullen, John Schwaninger, Caterina Bernardini, Marie Ernster, Amanda J. Axley, and Stephanie Blalock

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New Haven
May 24th 1876

Mr Walt Whitman
Dear Sir

I want to get your new book (the "Two Rivulets"1 I think it is called) for a friend of mine on his next Birthday July 1st 1876. I asked for it at one of the largest book stores in this place but they did not have it, so I thought the best way would be to write to you. I would much prefer to send to you for it if you will be kind enough to send it please let me know the price. My friend is a great admirer of yours. him and I have lately been reading your "Leaves of Grass" and "Drum Taps"2 and we are very much pleased with them. I admire and respect you very much for the way in which you write about Mr Abraham Lincoln, our Brave Soldiers, and the African race. I think Mr Lincoln was one of the best men that ever lived. our Soldiers we can not praise them to much and the poor blacks needs the sympathy of every good man and woman on earth.

If you will be kind enough to notice this note please write a line to Rachel. M. Cox. 63. St. John. St. New Haven Conn.

and oblige Yours Truly
Miss R. M. Cox

P.S. This friend of mine that I write about wrote to you some time ago. perhaps you remember him. his name is C. W. Hine.3 I know he would appreciate one of your Books better than anything else I could give him

R. M. C.

Rachel Mary Cox Brockett (1845–1919) was born in Pennsylvania. Her family moved to New Haven, Connecticut, when she was still in her teens, and she would remain there for the rest of her life. She was employed in a rubber factory and later married Fredrick Brockett (1855–1921), a widower and farmer.


1. Published as a "companion volume" to the 1876 Author's edition of Leaves of Grass, Two Rivulets consisted of an "intertwining of the author's characteristic verse, alternated throughout with prose," as one critic from the The New York Daily Tribune wrote on February 19, 1876 (4). For more information on Two Rivulets, see Frances E. Keuling-Stout, "Two Rivulets, Author's Edition [1876]" and "Preface to Two Rivulets [1876]," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]

2. Whitman's Drum-Taps, a volume that consisted of fifty-three Civil War poems, was published in 1865. The assassination of Abraham Lincoln occurred while Drum-Taps was being printed, and Whitman promptly added the short poem "Hush'd be the Camps To-day," with a note about Lincoln's death to the final signature of the book. Whitman then decided to stop the printing and add a sequel to the book that would more fully take into account Lincoln's death. Copies of the volume were withdrawn so that the sequel could be added. Whitman hastily composed several poems, adding eighteen new poems to those that appeared in Drum-Taps, and all of these poems were published in a second edition Sequel to Drum-Taps (1865–1866). Later, these poems were folded into Leaves of Grass, and by the time the final arrangement of Leaves of Grass was printed in 1881, the "Drum-Taps" cluster that Whitman included in that volume contained forty-three poems. For more information on the printing of Drum-Taps (1865), see Ed Folsom, Whitman Making Books/Books Making Whitman: A Catalog and Commentary (Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, University of Iowa, 2005). For more on the poems of Drum-Taps and their arrangement in Leaves of Grass, see Huck Gutman, "Drum-Taps," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]

3. As yet we have no information about this correspondent. [back]


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