Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Francis P. Church, 19 October 1867

Date: October 19, 1867

Whitman Archive ID: loc.01285

Source: The location of this manuscript is unknown. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 1:344–345. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Alex Kinnaman, Jonathan Y. Cheng, Elizabeth Lorang, Zachary King, Eric Conrad, and Nicole Gray

October 19, 1867.

F. P. Church.
My dear Sir:

I send the article on Democracy. If satisfactory I should like $100 for it. You are to issue it in Galaxy with exclusive possession of the field, say for three months—after which I reserve to myself the right of any further use of it—as, for instance, issuing it with added Notes, Appendices, &c. in a pamphlet or small book—published by you, of course, if you are willing—I to receive copyright fee on sales, &c. &c.

But we can see better how the cat jumps after the article is before the public—& will leave that question open until then.

Please have it set up forthwith, read carefully by copy, & then, after correction, send me two good proofs. I want it to go forth in a perfect verbal &c. condition.

Walt Whitman.

Please acknowledge this, immediately on reception.

If any thing could be made by disposing of advance sheets in London, to any magazine or publisher, I would suggest that it be done—the price procured to be divided equally between you & me.


Francis Pharcellus Church (1839–1906) established the Galaxy in 1866 with his brother William Conant Church (1836–1917). Financial control of the Galaxy passed to Sheldon & Company in 1868, and the magazine was absorbed by the Atlantic Monthly in 1878. In 1897, Francis Church famously wrote, "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" for the New York Sun in response to a letter the paper received from eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon. For more information on the Church brothers, see Edward F. Grier, "Walt Whitman, the Galaxy, and Democratic Vistas," American Literature, 23 (1951–1952), 332–350; Robert J. Scholnick, "The Galaxy and American Democratic Culture, 1866–1878," Journal of American Studies 16 (April 1982), 69–80; and Brook Thomas, "The Galaxy, National Literature, and Reconstruction," Nineteenth-Century Literature 75 (June 2020), 50–81.


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