Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: David Mckay to Walt Whitman, 31 October 1890

Date: October 31, 1890

Whitman Archive ID: loc.03128

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, Marie Ernster, and Stephanie Blalock



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DAVID MCKAY, 23 S. 9th St., Phila.1
Oct 31 1890
PUBLISHER AND BOOKSELLER
Old Books Bought, Sold, and Exchanged.

Please send us 1 Complete Edition,2 with bill for same, also send bill for 50 in sheets and one bound, which have been delivered

yours &etc
David McKay


Correspondent:
David McKay (1860–1918) took over Philadelphia-based publisher Rees Welsh's bookselling and publishing businesses in 1881–2. 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 publisher Whitman had originally contracted with for publication of the volume, to withdraw. McKay also went on to publish Specimen Days & Collect, November Boughs, Gems from Walt Whitman, and Complete Prose Works. 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).

Notes:

1. This postal card is addressed: Walt Whitman | 328 Mickle St. | Camden | N. J. It is postmarked: [Philadephia] | Oct 31 | 1230PM | 90; Camden, N. J. | Oct 31 | 3PM | 90 | Rec'd. [back]

2. Whitman's Complete Poems & Prose (1888), a volume Whitman often referred to as the "big book," was published by the poet himself—in an arrangement with publisher David McKay, who allowed Whitman to use the plates for both Leaves of Grass and Specimen Days—in December 1888. With the help of Horace Traubel, Whitman made the presswork and binding decisions for the volume. Frederick Oldach bound the book, which included a profile photo of the poet on the title page. For more information on the book, see Ed Folsom, Whitman Making Books/Books Making Whitman: A Catalog and Commentary. [back]


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