Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: John H. Johnston to Walt Whitman, 30 November 1891

Date: November 30, 1891

Whitman Archive ID: loc.02580

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: Andrew David King, Cristin Noonan, and Stephanie Blalock



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JOHN H. JOHNSTON.
ALBERT EDW. JOHNSTON.
J.H. JOHNSTON & CO.,
DIAMOND MERCHANTS AND JEWELERS,
17 UNION SQUARE,
CORNER BROADWAY & 15TH STREET.
———
ESTABLISHED 1844.
All Communications should be addressed to the firm.
———
TELEPHONE CALL: "916 - 18TH STREET."
305 E 14 St.
New York,1 Nov 30 1891

Dear Walt:

Last Saturday night I was at the Dinner given by the Lotus Club to Mons. Giacosa2—the Shakspear of Italy—whose Play on Wed. night at the Standard Theater Sarah Bernhard3 is to celebrate—

During the evening I had a good long half hour's talk with Bronson Howard4 and he surprised me by telling me how much he thought of & read L of G and said he wished he had a good copy easy to hold and handle—and I recommended the 2 vol edition & he thanked me for offering to write you for them—

If you will send them to

Bronson Howard
New Rochelle
N.Y.

I will guarantee cash payment.

4 weeks housed up—Up and at it now, but tire out easy, but am better every day—

Ever yours
JHJ


Correspondent:
John H. Johnston (1837–1919) was a New York jeweler and close friend of Whitman. Johnston was also a friend of Joaquin Miller (Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden [New York: Mitchell Kennerley, 1915], 2:139). Whitman visited the Johnstons for the first time early in 1877. In 1888 he observed to Horace Traubel: "I count [Johnston] as in our inner circle, among the chosen few" (Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Wednesday, October 3, 1888). See also Johnston's letter about Whitman, printed in Charles N. Elliot, Walt Whitman as Man, Poet and Friend (Boston: Richard G. Badger, 1915), 149–174. For more on Johnston, see Susan L. Roberson, "Johnston, John H. (1837–1919) and Alma Calder," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).

Notes:

1. This letter is addressed: Walt Whitman | Camden | N.J. It is postmarked: NEW-YORK | DEC 1 | 2 PM | D; CAMDEN, N.J. | DEC 2 | 6 AM | 91 | REC'D. [back]

2. Giuseppe Giacosa (1847–1906) was an Italian playwright, librettist, and poet. He wrote La signora di Callant (The Lady of Challand) for French actress Sarah Bernhardt, which was produced in New York in 1891. Giacosa, along with Luigi Illica, wrote librettos that were used by Giacomo Puccini in La bohème and Madama Butterfly[back]

3. The French actress Sarah Bernhardt (1844–1923) starred in stage productions of popular French plays in the 19th and early 20th centuries. She had roles in plays by Victor Hugo and Alexandre Dumas and played males roles, including Shakespeare's Hamlet. She participated in international theater tours and went on to make sound recordings and to act in early motion pictures. [back]

4. Bronson Howard (1842–1908) was an American journalist and dramatist, whose work earned him membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters. [back]


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