Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: William P. McKenzie to Walt Whitman, 10 October 1889

Date: October 10, 1889

Whitman Archive ID: loc.03247

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: Kirby Little, Caterina Bernardini, Breanna Himschoot, and Stephanie Blalock

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Always Faithful
Morgan Hall
Auburn N. Y.
Oct 10th 89

O Good Gray Poet,

When I read the notes on your life made by Ernest Rhys1 the tears came to my eyes, and I would have given much to have seen yourself, that I might have knelt before you, & kissed the hands that had ministered so tenderly to wounded men.

When I read your writings I get inspiration, I have the feeling of the boundlessness of the universe, of the greatness of a man—perhaps, only perhaps, it may be my glory to help others to "justify" your work; it surely is my heart's desire.

My excuse for writing you is the sending of a book; a first utterance, called "Voices & Undertones"—it bears greeting and admiring love, though it may be a poor messenger to bear the treasure.

Some day I hope to hear your voice. God give you peace and perpetual hope!

Your unknown friend
Wm. P. McKenzie

William Patrick McKenzie (1861–1942) taught English literature and rhetoric at the University of Rochester, in New York. In 1891, he became, and he would remain, a very active member of the Christan Science faith. He served as director of the Christian Science Publishing Society, and also worked for the society as an administrator and lecturer. He also published poems in Christian Science periodicals, as well as in privately published books.


1. Ernest Percival Rhys (1859–1946) was a British author and editor; he founded the Everyman's Library series of inexpensive reprintings of popular works. He included a volume of Whitman's poems in the Canterbury Poets series and two volumes of Whitman's prose in the Camelot series for Walter Scott publishers. For more information about Rhys, see Joel Myerson, "Rhys, Ernest Percival (1859–1946)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]


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