Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: George Parsons Lathrop to Walt Whitman, 2 January 1884

Date: January 2, 1884

Whitman Archive ID: loc.03231

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.

Editorial note: The annotation, "ans | name signed," is in the hand of Walt Whitman.

Contributors to digital file: Alex Ashland, Stefan Schöberlein, and Nicole Gray

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80 Washington Sq.
New York
Jan 2/84.

Dear Whitman,

Will you kindly sign your name well up on the enclosed document, close under the print?

We already have about 120 authors in this League,1 many of the best standing & authority. It is meant to take in the whole mass of writers, of every worthy kind, & when we have got these we shall enroll the outside sympathizers, numbering, I hope, thousands. Ultimately, I believe we shall accomplish something.

Faithfully yours
G P Lathrop

George Parsons Lathrop (1851–1898) was an American poet and novelist. He was also the biographer of his father-in-law, Nathaniel Hawthorne. For more on him, see The Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans, ed. Rossiter Johnson and John Howard Brown (Boston: Biographical Society, 1904), 360.


1. Lathrop is likely referring to the American Copyright League, which he had founded in 1883. The secretary of the organization was Robert Underwood Johnson. Aparently, Whitman chose to support the cause, as The Publisher's Weekly of January 26th that year lists him as a "working member" alongside T. W. Higginson, William L. Alden, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and John G. Whittier. On this topic, see also Martin T. Buinicki, "Walt Whitman and the Question of Copyright," American Literary History 15 (Summer 2003): 248–275. [back]


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