Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: William Payne to Walt Whitman, 16 July 1890

Date: July 16, 1890

Whitman Archive ID: loc.03499

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 notes: The annotations, "book sent July 28," and "book sent July 28," are in the hand of Walt Whitman.

Contributors to digital file: Andrew David King, Cristin Noonan, Breanna Himschoot, and Stephanie Blalock

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Woodleigh, The Thicket,
Southsea, Portsmouth,
16 July. 1890.

Dear Sir.

Kindly oblige me by sending to me a copy of "Complete Poems and Prose"1 price $6.

I enclose a P.O.O. for one pound eleven shillings in English money to cover cost of the Book & its postage to the above named place. If the P.O.O. is not for enough, I will send to you another for what it may be short & if you can register the parcel so as to render safer its receipt by me, pray do so & increase my obligation to you.

Having been away at the the British Archaeological Congress2 at Oxford—I have not yet reached home.

I have the honor to be, Sir, your faithful admirer & Servant,
William Payne.3

To Walt Whitman Esq
North America

William Payne was manager of the National Provinicial Bank of England for Portsmouth. To this point, nothing more is known of him.


1. Whitman's Complete Poems & Prose (1888), a volume Whitman often referred to as the "big book," was published by the poet himself—in an arrangement with publisher David McKay, who allowed Whitman to use the plates for both Leaves of Grass and Specimen Days—in December 1888. With the help of Horace Traubel, Whitman made the presswork and binding decisions for the volume. Frederick Oldach bound the book, which included a profile photo of the poet on the title page. For more information on the book, see Ed Folsom, Whitman Making Books/Books Making Whitman: A Catalog and Commentary. [back]

2. In the upper right margin of the paper, just above this part of Payne's letter, Whitman has written a series of four numbers, beginning with "2" and increasing each subsequent number by seven up to "23." [back]

3. This page of Payne's letter is written on paper that includes the following printed banking information: "National Provincial Bank of England Limited." The name of the bank has a wavy line drawn through it in black ink. [back]


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