Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Thomas W. Mather to Walt Whitman, 9 October 1888

Date: October 9, 1888

Whitman Archive ID: loc.03271

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, "T.W. Mather," is in the hand of Walt Whitman. The annotation, "See notes Oct. 11, '88," is in the hand of Horace Traubel.

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

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New Haven, Connecticut,
Oct 9th. 88

Walt Whitman Esq
Camden N.J.
Dear Sir

Shortly after posting your first letter to Mr. Linton,2 I re'cd word from him to forward the block3 to Mr Arthur Stedman4 of Mesrs. Webster & Co. #3 East 14th St. N.Y.

In acknowledging its receipt Sept 26th, Mr Stedman said that as soon as an electro could be taken it would be returned to me—but I have seen nothing of it yet.

I have heard nothing further from Mr Linton with regard to the block—there has been hardly time—but will take the responsibility—of sending it on to you as soon as I get it

Very truly yours
T.W. Mather

Thomas William Mather (1850–1917) was a mechanical engineer and taught that subject at the Sheffield Scientific School of Yale University, where he was also educated. He was the principal of Boardman Manual Training School in New Haven and later founded the engineering firm of Mather & Son in Florida. He was married to Margaret Wade Linton Mather (1851–1943), the daughter of engraver William J. Linton.


1. This letter is addressed: Walt Whitman | Camden | New Jersey. It is postmarked: NEW HAVEN, CONN | OCT 10 | 2PM; CAMDEN, N.J. | OCT | 11 | 6AM | [illegible] | REC'D. [back]

2. 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." [back]

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

4. 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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