Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Whitelaw Reid, 5 December [1874]

Date: December 5, 1874

Whitman Archive ID: loc.02347

Source: The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 2:317. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Kenneth M. Price, Elizabeth Lorang, Kathryn Kruger, Zachary King, and Eric Conrad

431 Stevens st. / cor West. / Camden, / N. Jersey,
Dec. 5.1

My dear Reid,2

Hasn't this got vim enough—from your point of view, even as editor of the paper—to make you print it in the Tribune?3

I am still tediously invalided here—but have not at all given up the hope of getting out of the woods, & doing some work yet.

When you come to Philadelphia, try to come over & see me.4

Walt Whitman


1. The letter is dated "1874," evidently by Reid. [back]

2. Whitelaw Reid (1837–1912) was the editor of the New York Tribune from 1872 to 1905. He met Whitman in the hospitals during the Civil War. Of his relations with the poet Reid later observed: "No one could fail then [during the War] to admire his zeal and devotion, and I am afraid that at first my regard was for his character rather than his poetry. It was not till long after 'The Leaves of Grass' period that his great verses on the death of Lincoln conquered me completely"; see Charles N. Elliot, Walt Whitman as Man, Poet and Friend (Boston: R. G. Badger, Gorham Press, 1915), 213, and Studies in Bibliography, 8 (1956), 242–249. [back]

3. Reid apparently did not publish this unidentified article. [back]

4. Seemingly in a lost letter to Reid, Whitman had protested what he considered a slurring reference to his health in a news item in the Tribune. In apologizing on December 22, 1874, Reid promised to "have a paragraph within a day or two, which will I think relieve you of the idea that we had any such intention." A complimentary notice appeared in the issue of December 26, 1874; In his January 7, 1875 letter to Ellen O'Connor, Whitman referred to this notice as "the most flourishing puff yet given me—& from them![back]


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