Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: William J. Linton to Walt Whitman, 19 May 1875

Date: May 19, 1875

Whitman Archive ID: loc.01802

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, "WJ Linton," is in the hand of Walt Whitman. The annotation, "see note Apr 4 1888," is in the hand of Horace Traubel.

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

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New Haven Conn.
Box 1188
May 19, 18751

My dear Whitman,

Why have I not written to you? Why has not Spring come?

I have waited for that, waiting a little also till I could get through some work which would have made me uncompanionable.

Now—I go to New York on Saturday June 5 to the Century meeting and remain in NY till Tuesday or Wednesday after. Can not you meet me, so as to return home with me? Apple blossoms surely will be out by then, and some summer warmth to enable you to enjoy your hammock (did I tell you I have one?) on the piazza.

I want you here and to set you to rights. Can you come then (not for a night or two but to stay indefinitely), or will you rather come later?

Do which may best suit you; but come; and let me know as near as you can when I may look for you.

Affectionately Yours
WJ Linton

I want a copy of your Mystic Trumpeter2 for England

William J. Linton (1812–1897), a British-born wood engraver, came to the United States in 1866 and settled near New Haven, Connecticut. He illustrated the works of John Greenleaf Whittier, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, William Cullen Bryant, and others, wrote the "indispensable" History of Wood-Engraving in America (1882), and edited Poetry of America, 1776–1876 (London, 1878), in which appeared eight of Whitman's poems as well as a frontispiece engraving of the poet. According to his Threescore and Ten Years, 1820 to 1890—Recollections (1894), 216–217, Linton met with Whitman in Washington and later visited him in Camden (which Whitman reported in his November 9, 1873, letter to Peter Doyle): "I liked the man much, a fine-natured, good-hearted, big fellow, . . . a true poet who could not write poetry, much of wilfulness accounting for his neglect of form."


1. This letter is addressed: Walt Whitman | 431 Stevens St | Cor: 7 West St | Camden | NJ. It is postmarked: New Haven | MAY 19 | CT. [back]

2. "The Mystic Trumpeter" first appeared in the Kansas Magazine in February 1872 and in the Washington Daily Morning Chronicle on February 7, 1872. Whitman submitted the poem to William and Francis Church, editors of the Galaxy, for their January 1872 issue in a November 2, 1871 letter; however, they rejected it. "The Mystic Trumpeter" was later published in the small volume As a Strong Bird on Pinions Free, which supplemented Two Rivulets, published in 1876. For digital images of the poem as it appeared in the Kansas Magazine, see "The Mystic Trumpeter." [back]


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