Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Jennette B. Perry to Walt Whitman, 16 September 1890

Date: September 16, 1890

Whitman Archive ID: loc.03490

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, "Miss Jennette B Perry | Vassar College | Poughkeepsie | New York," is in the hand of Walt Whitman.

Contributors to digital file: Andrew David King, Cristin Noonan, Brandon James O'Neil, Jason McCormick, and Stephanie Blalock

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Dear Mr Whitman1

I send you by the same mail with this a copy of "The Home, School and Nation"2 which contains a short article on your life and work.3 If the article is inaccurate in important particulars, will you kindly let me know, that I may correct the mistake.

I felt, when the editors asked me for an article on your life and work, that I had not the proper material since I had never even seen you, and know nothing of your personal history. But my debt of gratitude to you, through your writing, is so great that I could not refuse the opportunity of introducing new readers to you.

For you have been literally an inspiration in my life. I can not analyze the subtle something which comes to me through your poems; but it is new life. It rouses many questions.

May there be before you long and peaceful years of happy life, and may you be to many other lives what you have been to mine

Sincerely Yours
Jennette B. Perry

Vassar College, Poughkeepsie
September 16th, 1890

Jennette Barbour Perry Lee (1861–1951) was an American author and educator, and a graduate of Smith College. Lee taught at Vassar College between 1890 and 1893, Western Reserve University in Cleveland from 1893 to 1896, and later returned to Smith College as a faculty member in the English Department from 1901 to 1913, after her marriage to Gerald Stanley Lee in 1896. She retired from education in 1913 to focus on her writing career and is author of numerous titles, including A Pillar of Salt (New York: Houghton Mifflin and Company, 1901), The Woman in the Alcove (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1914), and The Other Susan (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1921). For more information, see Annie Russell Marble, A Study of the Modern Novel: British and American Since 1900 (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1928), 352.


1. This letter is addressed: Walt Whitman— | 328 Mickle Street— | Camden— | New Jersey. It is postmarked: POUGHKEEPSIE | SEP 16 | 4 PM | 90 | NY; CAMDEN, N.J. | SEP | 17 | 6 AM | 1890 | REC'D. [back]

2. The Home, School and Nation was an illustrated montly magazine of "Knowledge, Education and Patriotism" for children and youth. First published in Chicago in 1890, the magazine was the organ for The American Society of Patriotic Knowledge and of The Young American Historical League, and it published material on national events and important historical and political figures. Bishop Samuel Fallows, D. D. (1835–1922), was the Editor-in Chief, and Martin L. Williston, A. M., was the Assistant Editor. [back]

3. This enclosure has not been located. [back]


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