Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to William C. Church and Francis P. Church, 30 April 1868

Date: April 30, 1868

Whitman Archive ID: loc.01286

Source: The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839-1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 2:32–33. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Kenneth M. Price, Elizabeth Lorang, Zachary King, and Eric Conrad

April 30, 1868.

Messrs. W. C. & F. P. Church.1
My friends:

I have now just ready an article intended as the third & concluding one to the two already published by you, on "Democracy" and "Personalism."

This is upon the general subject of a needed American Literature, in the highest sense, & of our imaginative, mental, &c. growths, home-born, appropriate to & towering high enough for, The States, & faithfully in the interests of their Democratic institutions. I have, of course, treated the subject in my own way—certain parts strong & earnest—but there is nothing in it to make the piece at all improper for the magazine—probably indeed may be found more appropriate & serviceable—more to rouse editorial & critical remark, &c—than the already published articles.

I propose to you to print it in the Galaxy for July. It will make from eleven to twelve pages in your new form & type. The name is

Orbic Literature.2

The price, if satisfactory, will be the same as for each of the previous articles, viz: $100.3 I reserve the right of printing it in future book. I can send it on immediately.

I think it will be best not to delay too long, as the interest in the thing is now up, something like a serial story. This is the conclusion, & I should like to have it in July number.

Walt Whitman.


1. William Conant Church (1836–1917), journalist and publisher, was a correspondent for several New York newspapers until he founded the Army and Navy Journal in 1863. With his brother Francis Pharcellus (1839–1906), he established the Galaxy in 1866. Financial control of the Galaxy passed to Sheldon and Company in 1868, and it was absorbed by the Atlantic Monthly in 1878. William published a biography of his life-long friend Ulysses S. Grant in 1897, and Francis wrote for the New York Sun the unsigned piece "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus." See Edward F. Grier, "Walt Whitman, the Galaxy, and Democratic Vistas," American Literature, 23 (1951–1952), 332–350; Donald N. Bigelow, William Conant Church & "The Army and Navy Journal" (New York: Columbia University Press, 1952); J. R. Pearson, Jr., "Story of a Magazine: New York's Galaxy, 1866–1878," Bulletin of the New York Public Library, 61 (1957), 217–237, 281–302. [back]

2. On May 15, 1868, Francis P. Church wrote that, after consultation with new financier Mr. Sheldon, "I am obliged to come to the conclusion that for the present at least, it is best that it should not be published in The Galaxy." The essay finally appeared in Democratic Vistas[back]

3. Though Whitman cited $100 as his fee for previous articles to the Galaxy, he accepted $75 for "Personalism" in his May 18, 1868 letter to Sheldon and Company. [back]


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