Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Moses King to Walt Whitman, 14 November 1891

Date: November 14, 1891

Whitman Archive ID: loc.02596

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: Cristin Noonan, Brandon James O'Neil, Stephanie Blalock, and Alex Ashland

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Moses King Corporation.
Boston, Mass.,
Nov. 14 1891
Walt Whitman, Esq.
Camden, N.J.

Dear Sir:

I have taken great pleasure in sending to you as one of the most notable men this country has produced a complimentary of "King's Handbook of the United States";1 a little book that aims to give an outline of the glorious things of this country; but as you will readily see, it fails to do anything like justice to the vast subject although it is the result of the best efforts of 2½ years' of the most laborious and painstaking work.

Kindly let me know of its safe arrival.—

With great esteem, I am,
Sincerely Yours
Moses King

Moses King (1853–1909) was an English-born travel and guidebook writer. King and his family immigrated to the United States when he was five years old. In 1881, he graduated from Harvard University and married Bertha Cloyes. The Moses King Corporation produced photobooks on various subjects, and King wrote guidebooks for major cities including Boston (1878), New York City (1893), and Philadelphia (1902). In 1891, King edited King's Handbook of the United States (Buffalo, NY: Moses King Corporation), a nearly one-thousand-page book with text by Moses Forster Sweetser and over two-thousand illustrations. Whitman is briefly mentioned: "Long Island includes three counties, with 800,000 inhabitants, and is 140 miles long, having (according to Walt Whitman) the form of a fish" (588). For more information, see King's obituary, "Moses King is Dead" (The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, [June 13, 1909], 9).


1. King's Handbook of the United States (1891), a volume totaling more than 900 pages, was a reference book that considered each state individually, giving facts, statistics, and histories for each. The volume also included illustrations. [back]


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