Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to David McKay, 25 April 1890

Date: April 25, 1890

Whitman Archive ID: loc.03111

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.

Related item: Whitman wrote this draft of a letter to David McKay on the back of an envelope in which he had received a letter from Frank G. Carpenter on April 17, 1890. See loc.01206.

Contributors to digital file: Blake Bronson-Bartlett, Ian Faith, and Stephanie Blalock

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sent to D McKay April 25 '901

Yes will sell the London proposer 100 sets of the entire autograph sheets, plates & back labels for complete book and throw in one of my bound copies, (making 101 altogether)—for $320—I to receive that sum in full—you to make a fair bonus addition for your trouble.

David McKay (1860–1918) took over Philadelphia-based publisher Rees Welsh's bookselling and publishing businesses in 1881–82. McKay and Rees Welsh published the 1881 edition of Leaves of Grass after opposition from the Boston District Attorney prompted James R. Osgood & Company of Boston, the original publisher, to withdraw. McKay also went on to publish Specimen Days & Collect, November Boughs, Gems from Walt Whitman, Complete Prose Works, and the final Leaves of Grass, the so-called deathbed edition. For more information about McKay, see Joel Myerson, "McKay, David (1860–1918)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


1. This a draft letter; the version of the letter that Whitman sent to McKay is not extant. [back]


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