Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to William Michael Rossetti, [3 July 1876]

Date: [July 3, 1876]

Whitman Archive ID: loc.02382

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), 3:52. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Alex Kinnaman, Nicole Gray, Elizabeth Lorang, Kathryn Kruger, Zachary King, Eric Conrad, Erel Michaelis, Stephanie Blalock, and Amanda J. Axley

[Sent letter] also July 3, acknowledging £45.9.6 sent me in letter of June 20 '76 with list.1

William Michael Rossetti (1829–1915), brother of Dante Gabriel and Christina Rossetti, was an English editor and a champion of Whitman's work. In 1868, Rossetti edited Whitman's Poems, selected from the 1867 Leaves of Grass. Whitman referred to Rossetti's edition as a "horrible dismemberment of my book" in his August 12, 1871, letter to Frederick S. Ellis. Nonetheless, the edition provided a major boost to Whitman's reputation, and Rossetti would remain a staunch supporter for the rest of Whitman's life, drawing in subscribers to the 1876 Leaves of Grass and fundraising for Whitman in England. For more on Whitman's relationship with Rossetti, see Sherwood Smith, "Rossetti, William Michael (1829–1915)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


1. This is Whitman's summary of a letter, or postcard, which apparently is not extant. Rossetti's letter, which included a list of English subscribers to the 1876 version of Leaves of Grass, is also unknown. Whitman received the following sums from Rossetti: £28.4 on April 19, 1876; £45.9.6 on June 20, 1876; £21.18 ($116.01) on October 11, 1876; and $23.30 on September 10, 1877. See Whitman's Commonplace Book (Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.) and his September 10, 1876, letter to Rossetti. [back]


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