Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: William J. Linton to Walt Whitman, 3 October 1888

Date: October 3, 1888

Whitman Archive ID: loc.03235

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, "See notes Oct 13 1888," is in the hand of Horace Traubel.

Contributors to digital file: Jeannette Schollaert, Ian Faith, Caterina Bernardini, and Stephanie Blalock

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4 Trafalgar Square1
London WC.
Oct. 3, 1888.

Dear Friend:

Your card to New Haven followed me on here, where I have been for some months, looking after the production of a work on wood-engraving.

The enclosed letter seems to have anticipated your request. My answer to it has crossed the letter enclosing yours. In sending that I wrote also home, telling them to look for and forward the block2 to Stedman.3 I presume it before now has gone to him. Will you write to him for what use you yourself need of it. I am glad to see your hand again & anyway to hear of you I hope you keep in fair health & in as much prosperity as may be necessary for the poet.

For myself, after some five years work on a book concerning my own especial art, I am now waiting the return, which may give me a sufficiency, or may not. At 76, or close upon it, one need not be very anxious. I keep in good health.

Give me a few words of yourself. The above address will find me for some months to come.

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: US. of America | Walt Whitman | 328 Mickle St | Camden | New Jersey. It is postmarked: CHISWICK | ID | OC 2 | 88; NEW YORK | OCT | [illegible] | CAMDEN, N.J. | OCT | 13 | [illegible] AM | [illegible] | REC'D. [back]

2. The block is Linton's engraving of Whitman that he used for the frontispiece of Poets in America (1878). [back]

3. Arthur Stedman (1859–1908) was the son of the prominent critic, editor, and poet Edmund Clarence Stedman. Arthur was an editor at Mark Twain's publishing house, Charles L. Webster, where he edited a selection of Whitman's poems and a selection of his autobiographical writings for the "Fiction, Fact, and Fancy Series" (1892). [back]


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