Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Abraham Simpson, 20 May 1867

Date: May 20, 1867

Whitman Archive ID: loc.01564

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), 1:330–331. 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

Attorney General's Office,
May 20, 1867.1

Abm. Simpson2
My dear Sir:

I have been absent in New York & Brooklyn & only returned three days ago. I have rec'd your note, & wish to answer it elaborately soon. At present, I can only say that if you are going into publishing & if you feel like taking hold of my productions, I should cordially open negotiations with you—But the papers are in error in giving the idea that I am writing a book on a new subject—it is only a new & far more perfected edition of Leaves of Grass—which work, though printed, has really never been published at all. I shall be happy to hear any thing from you. My address is at this office.

Walt Whitman


1. This draft letter is endorsed, in Whitman's hand, "sent to Abm Simpson— | May 20 '67." [back]

2. Simpson, who, while working for J. M. Bradstreet and Son, had supervised the binding of Drum-Taps (see Walt Whitman's May 2, 1865 letter to Peter Eckler), wrote on May 10, 1867, that he was going into business for himself: "Hearing you are writing another book, [I] would like to print and publish it for you and will give you better advantages than any other publishing house.…One of my reasons for securing your friendship is my appreciation for you as a man, with knowing your life has been devoted to help among those most in need of your assistance." In his May 31, 1867 letter, he informed Walt Whitman that "we have established a Ptg & Publishing House." But, on July 3, 1867, he advised Walt Whitman that after consultation "with several eminent literary men,…though we are favorably impressed,…we deem it injudicious to commit ourselves to its publication at the present time." (These letters are in the Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.) [back]


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