Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: William Sloane Kennedy to Walt Whitman, [9 January 1891]

Date: [January 9, 1891]

Whitman Archive ID: loc.03118

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.

Notes for this letter were derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller, 6 vols. (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), and supplemented, updated, or created by Whitman Archive staff as appropriate.

Contributors to digital file: Blake Bronson-Bartlett, Ryan Furlong, Andrew David King, and Stephanie Blalock



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Yes,1 I will send Dutch piece,2 but will have to wait till Clement3 digs it out (wh' sooner or later he will he says). I sent you a box (exp. prepaid) of candies with letter inside. Hope you got 'em. I have rece'd a delightful pamphlet abt you by Johnston4 of Bolton England. Thanks to you (indirectly).


W.S.K.

yr card just [illegible]


Correspondent:
William Sloane Kennedy (1850–1929) was on the staff of the Philadelphia American and later published biographies of Longfellow and Whittier (Dictionary of American Biography). Apparently Kennedy had called on the poet for the first time on November 21, 1880 (William Sloane Kennedy, Reminiscences of Walt Whitman [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).

Notes:

1. This postal card is addressed: Walt Whitman | Camden | New Jersey. It is postmarked: BELMONT | JAN | 9 | 1891 | MASS; CAMDEN, N.J. | JAN | 10 | 9AM | 1891 | REC'D. [back]

2. On October 6, 1890 Kennedy informed Whitman that the Boston Evening Transcript would bring out "Walt Whitman's Dutch Traits" "in time"; the editor "[Edward Henry] Clement is all right—a man—but very timid & slow in pushing the piece." Kennedy's "Dutch Traits of Walt Whitman" was eventually published in The Conservator 1 (February 1891), 90–91 and reprinted in In Re Walt Whitman, ed. Horace Traubel, et al. (Philadelphia: David McKay, 1893), 195–199. [back]

3. Edward Henry Clement (1843–1920) of Chelsea, Massachusetts, began his career as a journalist with the Savannah Daily News in the mid-1860s. He later became the editor of the Boston Transcript, a position that he held for twenty-five years. [back]

4. Dr. John Johnston (d. 1918) was a physician from Bolton, England, who, with James W. Wallace, founded the "Bolton College" of English admirers of the poet. Johnston and Wallace corresponded with Whitman and with Horace Traubel and other members of the Whitman circle in the United States, and they separately visited the poet and published memoirs of their trips in John Johnston and James William Wallace, Visits to Walt Whitman in 1890–1891 by Two Lancashire Friends (London: Allen and Unwin, 1917). For more information on Johnston, see Larry D. Griffin, "Johnston, Dr. John (d.1918)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]


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