Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Abraham Simpson to Walt Whitman, 31 May 1867

Date: May 31, 1867

Whitman Archive ID: loc.01925

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 annotations, "A. Simpson & Co.," "60 Duane st. cor. Elevn," "May 31, '67," and " ans June 17 '67," are in the hand of Walt Whitman.

Contributors to digital file: Alex Kinnaman, Elizabeth Lorang, Kathryn Kruger, Ashley Lawson, Nima Najafi Kianfar, John Schwaninger, Caterina Bernardini, Amanda J. Axley, Cristin Noonan, Kassie Jo Baron, and Stephanie Blalock

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New York
May 31st1

Walt Whitman Esq
Dr Sir:

You will perceive that we have established a Ptng & Publishing2 House—& should like to correspond with you in relation to printing & publishing your works.

Yrs &c
A Simpson & Co

60 Duane St

Abraham Simpson, while working for J. M. Bradstreet & Son, had supervised the binding of Drum-Taps (see Whitman's May 2, 1865, letter to Peter Eckler). Simpson had written on May 10, 1867, noting that he was going into business for himself and was interested in publishing Whitman's next book: "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, well knowing your life has been devoted to help along those most in need of your assistance." Despite Simpson's interest in publishing Whitman's writing, Simpson changed his mind by July. In Simpson's July 3, 1867, letter, he advised 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."


1. This letter is addressed: Walt Whitman Esq | Washington | D.C. It is postmarked: NEW YORK | MAY | 31; [CARRIER | JUN | 1 | 1 Del.[back]

2. In 1866, Dr. William A. Hammond (1828–1900), F. S. Hoffman, and "Abe" Simpson joined with B. W. Bond (of the publishing firm Moorhead, Simpson & Bond) to form the Agathynian Club, which printed both original works and reprints with an interest in typographical innovation. The Club produced periodicals, as well as reprints of rare, curious, and old American, English, French, and Latin books (American Literary Gazette and Publishers Circular [Philadelphia: George W. Childs, Publisher, No. 600 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, July 1, 1867], 9:136). While preparing the Agathynian Club's second volume, a fire destroyed the Bradstreet book-bindery, all 150 copies of the Club's second volume, and by extension the Club itself, which folded in 1868 when Hammond elected to focus on his medical practice. For more information on the Club, see Adolf Growell, "The Agathynian Club (1866–1868)," American Book Clubs: Their Beginnings and History, and a Bibliography of their Publications (New York: Dodd, Mead, and Company, 1897), 145–151. [back]


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