Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: William J. Linton to Walt Whitman, 1 July 1885

Date: July 1, 1885

Whitman Archive ID: loc.03234

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

Editorial notes: The annotation, "from Linton July 1 '85," is in the hand of Walt Whitman. The annotation, "see notes Oct 6 1888," is in the hand of Horace Traubel.

Contributors to digital file: Alex Kinnaman, Stefan Schöberlein, Ian Faith, Kyle Barton, Nicole Gray, and Marie Ernster

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New Haven Conn:1
July 1, 1885
PO Box 489

My dear Whitman:

I see by the papers that you may be going to England. If you go you must see Wm Bell Scott,2 the painter and poet, the first (unless, Dante Rossetti3 were earlier) of your English admirers. He will be glad to welcome you. And I glad to give you a note of introduction when I know you are going. We are old friends and regular correspondents, and I had much delightful time with him in England and Scotland during 1883 and '84, being then across the water.

You will tell me too if I can be of other use to you. I may be visiting the dear old land again next year, probably having to look after the bringing out of a book—on Wood Engraving.

As I am writing I think of something to send you, which ought to have come to you before. It is a bit of home-production, setting up, printing, binding and all. You'll not value it less for that.

Need I say that I am glad to see a good report of your health and that, however drifted off—as seems too generally our human fate—I am always pleased to think of you. Let me hear from you and believe me always

heartily yours
WJ Linton

William J. Linton (1812–1897), a British-born wood engraver, came to the United States in 1866 and settled near New Haven, Connecticut. He illustrated the works of John Greenleaf Whittier, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, William Cullen Bryant, and others, wrote the "indispensable" History of Wood-Engraving in America (1882), and edited Poetry of America, 1776–1876 (London, 1878), in which appeared eight of Whitman's poems as well as a frontispiece engraving of the poet. According to his Threescore and Ten Years, 1820 to 1890—Recollections (1894), 216–217, Linton met with Whitman in Washington and later visited him in Camden (which Whitman reported in his November 9, 1873, letter to Peter Doyle): "I liked the man much, a fine-natured, good-hearted, big fellow, . . . a true poet who could not write poetry, much of wilfulness accounting for his neglect of form."


1. This letter is addressed: Walt Whitman | Camden | N.J. It is postmarked: NEW HAVEN | JUL 1 | 4 PM | 85 | CONN; NEW YORK | JUL 1 | [illegible] PM | 85 | TRANSIT; CAMDEN, N.J. | JUL | 2 | [illegible]M | 1885 | REC'D. [back]

2. William Bell Scott (1811–1890), an English poet and painter, also published several volumes of literary criticism and edited volumes of Romantic poetry. He became acquainted with Leaves of Grass through Thomas Dixon. Walt Whitman sent Scott Two Rivulets and the 1876 edition of Leaves of Grass on May 18, 1876, and Memoranda During the War on June 14 or 15, 1876 (Whitman's Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). [back]

3. Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828–1882), brother of Christina and William Michael Rossetti, was an English poet, translator, and painter. His highly stylized portraits of women influenced the development of the Symbolist movement in Europe. His brother William Michael Rossetti was one of Whitman's most influential European editors and supporters. [back]


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