Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: William Sloane Kennedy to Walt Whitman, 4 July 1891

Date: July 4, 1891

Whitman Archive ID: loc.03161

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: Ethan Heusser, Cristin Noonan, Brandon James O'Neil, and Stephanie Blalock

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4th, July, '91

Dear W.W.,

In July, 3 Transcript— Brunswick's letter1 has [an?] impudentish(?) [bit?] abt [illegible] (I can't like [illegible] [Gilder?] & I have [illegible] (I think it is) in "Liter. Notes" a notice of [illegible] [Miss?] E P. Gould's2 "Gems" I had an agreeable call fr. her at office. Her deep violet eyes are fine. She is a noble woman, evidently.

Nice call (highly valued) from Chares Eldridge!3 Sent you my love by him.


William Sloane Kennedy, biographer, editor, and critic, was one of Whitman's most devoted friends and admirers. Kennedy first met Whitman in Philadelphia in 1880 while working on the staff of the American. He soon became a frequent correspondent and visitor to Whitman's Camden, New Jersey, home, a constant contributor of small gifts, and the author of several essays and newspaper articles in praise of Whitman. 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. Jeannette Leonard Gilder (1849–1916) helped her brother, Richard Watson Gilder, edit Scribner's Monthly and then, with another brother, Joseph Benson Gilder, co-edited the Critic (which she co-founded in 1881). Gilder wrote under the pen name of "Brunswick" for the Boston Transcript, which Kennedy notes in his letter to Whitman of May 3, 1890. For more information, see Susan L. Roberson, "Gilder, Jeannette L. (1849–1916)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]

2. Elizabeth Porter Gould (1848–1906) was a Massachusetts writer and reformer who edited the collection Gems from Walt Whitman (1889), a selection of poems from Leaves of Grass that she condensed to create short poetic "gems." [back]

3. Charles W. Eldridge was one half of the Boston-based abolitionist publishing firm Thayer and Eldridge, who put out the 1860 edition of Leaves of Grass. In December 1862, on his way to find his injured brother George in Fredericksburg, Virginia, Whitman stopped in Washington and encountered Eldridge, who had become a clerk in the office of the army paymaster and eventually obtained a desk for Whitman in the office of Major Lyman Hapgood, the army paymaster. For more on Whitman's relationship with Thayer and Eldridge see "Thayer, William Wilde (1829–1896) and Charles W. Eldridge (1837–1903)." [back]


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