Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: John William Lloyd to Walt Whitman, 30 November 1891

Date: November 30, 1891

Whitman Archive ID: loc.03250

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: Andrew David King, Cristin Noonan, Brandon James O'Neil, and Stephanie Blalock

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5 East 63d Street, New York City.

To Walt Whitman:

It is impossible to think of you as addressed formally, and so I address you directly.

For years you have been to me an inspiration and a reverence, as you are to thousands of the young men of America.

I wish to purchase your complete poems, latest edition, and have been told that I could order them from you direct, but the price was unknown.

I enclose three dollars. If too small I will remit balance. If too much, do not return anything.

I never before asked a great man for his autograph, but if I could see your name, written by yourself, on the fly leaf it would be my most valued treasure.

I trust the enclosed poem will not offend.1

Please send to the above address in "Mannahatta."2

J. Wm. Lloyd.

John William Lloyd (1857–1940) was an American utopian anarchist, founder of The Comradeship of Free Socialists and the group's magazine, The Free Comrade. A brief autobiographical note appears in Richard Maurice Bucke's seminal work, Cosmic Consciousness: A Study in the Evolution of the Human Mind (Philadelphia: Innes and Sons, 1905), describing his various careers—including "hygienic physician," homesteader, poultry farmer, and Florida orange-grower—as well as his wide exposure to world religions and political philosophies (284–285). Lloyd was the author of several books of poetry, including Wind–Harp Songs (Buffalo, New York: The Peter Paul Book Company, 1895), which contains the ode "Mount Walt Whitman," written on the occasion of Whitman's death in 1892. In this poem, Lloyd declares, "Ah, Walt, Walt, poet of Nature, comrade of free men, / Other poets have been Olympian, / But you are Olympus itself" (35). Lloyd was connected to other Whitman disciples, including Edward Carpenter, Horace Traubel, and John Johnston, of the Bolton Whitman Fellowship. Like Carpenter, Lloyd was interested in the study of sexology. Lloyd was also the author of a sex manual, The Karezza Method or Magnetation: The Art of Connubial Love (Privately Printed, 1931). For more information, see Terence S. Kissack, "Whitman and the Shifting Grounds of the Politics of Homosexuality," in Free Comrades: Anarchism and Homosexuality in the United States, 1895–1917 (Oakland: AK Press, 2008), 69–95.


1. The enclosed poem does not survive. [back]

2. "Mannahatta," meaning "land of many hills," is the Native American name Whitman uses for New York City in Leaves of Grass and elsewhere, including in a poem of that title published February 27, 1888 in the New York Herald[back]


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