Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Hiram Corson to Walt Whitman, 26 April 1886

Date: April 26, 1886

Whitman Archive ID: loc.01337

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 annotation, "from Prof: Corson," is in the hand of Walt Whitman. The annotation, "see notes June 8 1888," is in the hand of Horace Traubel.

Contributors to digital file: Alex Kinnaman, Stefan Schöberlein, Ian Faith, and Kyle Barton

page image
image 1
page image
image 2
page image
image 3
page image
image 4
page image
image 5
page image
image 6

The Cornell University1
Ithaca, N.Y.
26 April, 1886.

My dear Sir:

I recd your favor of April 13th and the book, which I'm delighted to have.2 Pardon my delay in acknowledging, due to illness. I'm delighted to learn that your lecture and Reading, in the Academy of Music, was so great a success.3 I hope you may repeat it for many years to come. Americans are apt to forget their great men, unless their work in this world, is kept before their minds, through annual presentations of it.

It was a great disappointment to me, when I was last in Philada, that press of work and shortness of time, did not allow me to see you. When I next visit the city, I shall certainly arrange to have a talk with you, on certain points upon which I have been long pondering—one especially, that of language-shaping, and the tendency toward impassioned prose, which I feel will be the poetic form of the future, and of which, I think, your "Leaves of Grass" is the most marked prophecy.

Very truly yours,
Hiram Corson

Walt Whitman, Esq.

Hiram Corson (1828–1911) was a scholar of English literature from Philadelphia, where he taught at Girard College. While his studies focused mainly on canonical British texts (Shakespeare, Chaucer, etc.), Corson would also give public readings of Whitman's verse.


1. This letter is addressed: Walt Whitman, Esq. | 328 Mickle Street | Camden, New Jersey. It is postmarked: ITHACA | 86 | APR 27 | 12_M | N.Y.; CAMDEN, [illegible] | APR | 28 | 8 AM | [illegible]. [back]

2. In his letter of April 13, 1886, the poet sent Corson—whom he addressed as "Prof. Carson"—John Burroughs's 1867 Notes on Walt Whitman[back]

3. Whitman read his "Death of Abraham Lincoln" in Philadelphia on April 22, 1886. [back]


Published Works | In Whitman's Hand | Life & Letters | Commentary | Resources | Pictures & Sound

Support the Archive | About the Archive

Distributed under a Creative Commons License. Matt Cohen, Ed Folsom, & Kenneth M. Price, editors.