Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Hamlin Garland to Walt Whitman, [June 1889]

Date: [June 1889]

Whitman Archive ID: loc.02137

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.

Contributors to digital file: Blake Bronson-Bartlett, Caterina Bernardini, Breanna Himschoot, and Stephanie Blalock

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Dear friend:

I sent my article on you to Walsh1 some weeks ago—have not heard from him but assume he will use it soon. I will write him again if I do not hear this week. I thought it but fair that he should print an authentic report he has printed so many that were not true.

I am very busy lecturing and writing now. I want to get out a volume of stories this fall—stories illustrative of the west and of social injustice. I am now bargaining with Roberts bros. thereto.2

I am also writing dramas—my fourth and last is praised highly by practical managers and by literary critics.3 I4 shall try to bring that out next spring—

I send you my photo—it may be of interest to you—I had just been lecturing upon your prose and the book in my hand is "Specimen Days."5

With deepest wishes for your good health.
Hamlin Garland.

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. William S. Walsh (1854–1919) was an American author and editor of Lippincott's Monthly Magazine[back]

2. Garland's Main-Travelled Roads: Six Mississippi Valley Stories was published in 1891 by the Arena Publishing Company, Boston. [back]

3. Garland's fourth drama is not extant. Fragments of three plays are held in the Hamlin Garland Collection at the University of Southern California. He published only one play, entitled "Under the Wheel: A Modern Play in Six Scenes." It appeared in Benjamin Orange Flower's magazine Arena 2 (July 1890), 182–228. It was also published as a book: Under the Wheel (Boston: Barta Press, 1890). [back]

4. Garland concludes his letter by writing the rest at an angle on the verso of the first page. [back]

5. The first issue of Whitman's Specimen Days and Collect was published by the Philadelphia firm of Rees Welsh and Company in 1882. The second issue was published by David McKay. Many of the autobiographical notes, sketches, and essays that focus on the poet's life during and beyond the Civil War had been previously published in periodicals or in Memoranda During the War (1875–1876). For more information on Specimen Days, see George Hutchinson and David Drews "Specimen Days [1882]," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]


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