Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Richard Watson Gilder to Walt Whitman, 14 May 1890

Date: May 14, 1890

Whitman Archive ID: loc.02225

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, Ian Faith, and Stephanie Blalock

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May 14. 1890.

My dear Whitman,

All the poems you have let me print before are of such a kind that I felt they would "widen your audience" so to speak. This one2 I fear appeals only to the [comparatively?] few—& is not really adapted to our use. Please send along something else.

That soldier one3 just fitted in!

R.W. Gilder.

Richard Watson Gilder (1844–1909) was the assistant editor of Scribner's Monthly from 1870 to 1881 and editor of its successor, The Century, from 1881 until his death. Whitman had met Gilder for the first time in 1877 at John H. Johnston's (Gay Wilson Allen, The Solitary Singer [New York: New York University Press, 1955], 482). Whitman attended a reception and tea given by Gilder after William Cullen Bryant's funeral on June 14; see "A Poet's Recreation" in the New York Tribune, July 4, 1878. Whitman considered Gilder one of the "always sane men in the general madness" of "that New York art delirium" (Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Sunday, August 5, 1888). For more about Gilder, see Susan L. Roberson, "Gilder, Richard Watson (1844–1909)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


1. This letter is addressed: Mr. Walt Whitman | Camden | N.J. It is postmarked: New York | May 15 | 12 M | D; N.Y. | 5-90 | 1230 PM; Camden, N.J. | May | 16 | 6AM | 1890 | Rec'd. [back]

2. Included with this letter is the printed proof of "On, On the Same, Ye Jocund Twain." The poem was eventually published in Once a Week, June 9, 1891. [back]

3. The Century accepted "A Twilight Song" for publication on February 26. They published it in the May issue and paid Whitman $25 (Whitman's Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). [back]


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