Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Charles L. Hildreth to Walt Whitman, [19 March 1883]

Date: [March 19, 1883]

Whitman Archive ID: loc.02243

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.

Notes for this letter were derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller, 6 vols. (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), and supplemented, updated, or created by Whitman Archive staff as appropriate.

Contributors to digital file: Marie Ernster, Amanda J. Axley, Stephanie Blalock, and Paige Wilkinson

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New York N [illegible]1

Mr. Walt Whitman,
Dear Sir,

I wrote to you a week since,2 as [illegible] to call upon you and since I have received no [illegible] I presume my letter failed to rea[c]h you. In s [illegible] I asked the favor of an hour's conversation wit[h] [illegible] which should refer toward an article, which I [illegible] been requested to write, touching yourself and yo[ur] poetry. Mr. Kelly,3 the artist, whose work is famili[ar] [to] magazine readers, proposed to accompany me and make its necessary illustrations.

I understood, but not with sufficient certainty, that Mr. Stoddart,4 had reason to suppose that you would see us,—that he had seen you to that end, in fact. But I feared that some mistake might have occurred an[d] that our purpose had not been made clear; in which case, had we called upon you, we might have been put into an embarrassing position. My former letter was, then, a formal request for permission to see you.

While I am very anxious to effect this object, I am at the same time anxious to avoid crossing your wishes. Only it would be a kindness if you would intimate them. Will you, then, let me know whether it is convenient for you to, see us or not? Your permission would be a favor and, if it must be so, your denial would put an end to my suspense. In either case I should know what to do. I earnestly hope, however, you will understand our motives and our desire to give you as [little?] trouble as possible while we do ourselves this honor of knowing you, better than we can by your printed works.

Very respectfully
Charles L. Hildreth

334 W. 35th St New York City.

Return to C.L.H. 334 W. 35th St. N.Y.C.—if not delivered in 5 days.

Charles Lotin Hildreth (1853–1896) contributed poetry to Lippincott's Monthly Magazine and also wrote science fiction. He is best known for such works as The Mysterious City of OO: Adventures in Orbello and "The Legend of Edward Mordake."


1. This letter is addressed: Mr. Walt Whitman | Camden | New Jersey. It is postmarked: New York | MAR 19 | 1030PM; New York | MAR 19 | 1030PM; E. [back]

2. This letter has not been located. [back]

3. James Edward Kelly (1855–1933) was a sculptor and illustrator from New York, who was best known for depicting the events of the American Civil War. He worked as an illustrator for numerous magazines, including Harper's Monthly[back]

4. Joseph Marshall Stoddart (1845–1921) published Stoddart's Encyclopaedia America, established Stoddart's Review in 1880, which was merged with The American in 1882, and became the editor of Lippincott's Monthly Magazine in 1886. On January 11, 1882, Whitman received an invitation from Stoddart through J. E. Wainer, one of his associates, to dine with Oscar Wilde on January 14 (Clara Barrus, Whitman and Burroughs—Comrades [Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1931], 235n). [back]


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