Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: James Redpath to Walt Whitman, 23 October 1885

Date: October 23, 1885

Whitman Archive ID: loc.03290

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.

Contributors to digital file: Alex Kinnaman, Stefan Schöberlein, Ian Faith, and Stephanie Blalock

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The North American Review.
30 Lafayette Place.
Editor and Proprietor.
New York City,
Oct. 23, 1885.

My Dear Walt Whitman:

I am very, very sorry to learn that your physical condition is so low and that it prevents you from doing much work. What I want to know is whether, if I send a stenographer over to you, he could do your work, that is to say, could you dictate with perfect ease the article on Lincoln and such other articles as you may have intended for the North American Review, or any other of Mr. Rice's1 literary enterprises. I think I can manage to give you this help if you could utilize it.2

Very truly yours,
Jas Redpath

Walt Whitman, Esq.

Camden, N. J.

James Redpath (1833–1891), an antislavery activist, journalist, and longtime friend of Whitman, was the author of The Public Life of Capt. John Brown (Boston: Thayer and Eldridge, 1860), a correspondent for the New York Tribune during the war, and the originator of the "Lyceum" lectures. He met Whitman in Boston in 1860, and he remained an enthusiastic admirer; see Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Friday, January 4, 1889. He concluded his first letter to Whitman on June 25, 1860: "I love you, Walt! A conquering Brigade will ere long march to the music of your barbaric jawp." Redpath became managing editor of The North American Review in 1886. See also Charles F. Horner, The Life of James Redpath and the Development of the Modern Lyceum, (New York: Barse & Hopkins, 1926); John R. McKivigan, Forgotten Firebrand: James Redpath and the Making of Nineteenth-Century America, (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2008); and J.R. LeMaster, "Redpath, James [1833–1891]," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


1. Charles Allen Thorndike Rice (1851–1889) purchased The North American Review in 1876. See also the letter from Whitman to John Burroughs of February 1, 1881[back]

2. Although Whitman's response to this offer is unknown, the poet accepted free stationery from Rice and Redpath. Whitman recieved payment for his piece on Lincoln in December of 1885. See Whitman's letter to Redpath and Rice of December 10, 1885 as well as his letter to Redpath of December 15, 1885[back]


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