Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Hamlin Garland to Walt Whitman, 15 April 1890

Date: April 15, 1890

Whitman Archive ID: loc.02135

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 note: The annotation, "see notes Nov. 8, '90," is in the hand of Horace Traubel.

Contributors to digital file: Blake Bronson-Bartlett, Ian Faith, and Stephanie Blalock

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Dear Walt Whitman:1

I have seen reports that you were not so well just now, as we all hoped you'd be at opening of Spring. Let me send as a spring message (as I sent a year ago) I find everywhere a growing respect and even tenderness for you. I have spoken several times during the year upon your work and have made converts always. The mere reading from some of your pages serving to open the eyes of my hearers. I am perfectly certain that this will be my spring message as long as you stay here with us.—

As for myself I am hard at work and beginning to succeed with the Century, Harpers, Arena etc.2 I am still too poor to do what I'd like in the way of having a copy of each edition of your works. I hope to be able to do soon. Please give my regards to Traubel3 and other friends. Ask him to send me a line if you do not feel like writing.

With deepest regards.
Hamlin Garland
April 15/90.

12 Moreland st
Roxbury, Boston.

Hamlin Garland (1860–1940) was an American novelist and autobiographer, known especially for his works about the hardships of farm life in the American Midwest. For his relationship to Whitman, see Thomas K. Dean, "Garland, Hamlin," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


1. This letter is addressed: Walt Whitman | Camden | New Jersey. It is postmarked: Roxbury Sta. | Apr | 15 | 3PM | 1890 | Mass.; Cam [illegible] | [illegible] | 9 AM | 1890 | Rec'd. [back]

2. Garland published two stories in Harper's Weekly in 1889: "Under the Lion's Paw" ([7 September], 726-727) and "Old Sid's Christmas" ([28 December], 1038-1040). "Drifting Crane" would appear in the 31 May 1890 issue of Harper's (421-422); "Among the Corn-Rows" would appear in the June 28 issue (506-508). Also in 1890, Garland published two pieces in Arena: the critical essay "Ibsen as a Dramatist" (June, 72-82) and the short story "The Return of a Private" (December, 97-113). [back]

3. Horace L. Traubel (1858–1919) was an American essayist, poet, and magazine publisher. He is best remembered as the literary executor, biographer, and self-fashioned "spirit child" of Walt Whitman. During the late 1880s and until Whitman's death in 1892, Traubel visited the poet virtually every day and took thorough notes of their conversations, which he later transcribed and published in three large volumes entitled With Walt Whitman in Camden (1906, 1908, & 1914). After his death, Traubel left behind enough manuscripts for six more volumes of the series, the final two of which were published in 1996. For more on Traubel, see Ed Folsom, "Traubel, Horace L. [1858–1919]," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]


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