Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: William Sloane Kennedy to Walt Whitman, 15 September 1890

Date: September 15, 1890

Whitman Archive ID: loc.03083

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: Kirby Little, Ryan Furlong, Ian Faith, and Stephanie Blalock

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Mond. morn.1
R. R. Sta.

Yr card rec'd

Excuse me—I rec'd the memoranda2 & have worked them all in of course.

I hd already arranged to have 25 slips taken. No expense to you or me.—

W. S. K.

William Sloane Kennedy (1850–1929) was on the staff of the Philadelphia American and the Boston Transcript; he also published biographies of Longfellow, Holmes, and Whittier (Dictionary of American Biography [New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1933], 336–337). Apparently Kennedy called on the poet for the first time on November 21, 1880 (William Sloane Kennedy, Reminiscences of Walt Whitman [London: Alexander Gardener, 1896], 1). Though Kennedy was to become a fierce defender of Whitman, in his first published article he admitted reservations about the "coarse indecencies of language" and protested that Whitman's ideal of democracy was "too coarse and crude"; see The Californian, 3 (February 1881), 149–158. For more about Kennedy, see Katherine Reagan, "Kennedy, William Sloane (1850–1929)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


1. This postal card is addressed Walt Whitman | Camden | New Jersey. It is postmarked: Boston Mass | Sep 15 | 9 30A | 1890; Camden, N.J. | Sep 16 | 9am | 1890 | Rec'd. [back]

2. Kennedy was writing a piece on Whitman's "Dutch traits" and had asked Whitman for some notes; see Whitman's letter to Kennedy of August 29, 1890[back]


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