Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Joaquin Miller to Walt Whitman, 5 September 1875

Date: September 5, 1875

Whitman Archive ID: loc.03517

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 annotation, "Joaquin Miller '75," is in the hand of Walt Whitman. The annotation, "see notes June 20 1888," is in the hand of Horace Traubel.

Contributors to digital file: Alex Kinnaman, Elizabeth Lorang, Ashley Lawson, Eder Jaramillo, John Schwaninger, Caterina Bernardini, Marie Ernster, Amanda J. Axley, and Stephanie Blalock

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Highland Falls
Orange Co
New York State
Sept. 5, 75

My dear Walt Whitman:

I have been wandering up and down the house and waiting to hear from Lord Houghton1 so as to get you two together here on the banks of the Hudson but he has gone on West the other way. He will return this way so soon as he has done the West when I hope to [catch?] him and then if we do not get down to see you you are to try and get up here if possible: Yet it may be that Houghton will not get back till too late for [me?] here. In that case we will try and get together in New York City. I am off to old [free?] Boston on Biz & pleasure and as usual know not when I shall get back: but let me hear from you here for I am very anxious indeed to hear of your health. Do keep up my dear fellow there is lots in the tomorrows for you and I want you to live to see the Great Sunrise. Now you must answer me and send me the proof sheets. By that time I shall have returned and will know more about what I shall do the next month

Yours ever
Joaquin Miller

Joaquin Miller was the pen name of Cincinnatus Heine Miller (1837–1913), an American poet nicknamed "Byron of the Rockies" and "Poet of the Sierras." In 1871, the Westminster Review described Miller as "leaving out the coarseness which marked Walt Whitman's poetry" (297). In an entry in his journal dated August 1, 1871, the naturalist John Burroughs recorded Whitman's fondness for Miller's poetry; see Clara Barrus, Whitman and Burroughs—Comrades (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1931), 60. Whitman met Miller for the first time in 1872; he wrote of a visit with Miller in a July 19, 1872, letter to his former publisher and fellow clerk Charles W. Eldridge.


1. Richard Monckton Milnes (1809–1885), Lord Houghton, was an intimate of Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809–1892) and William Makepeace Thackeray (1811–1863), as well as a poet. He was a collector of famous people; in Dictionary of National Biography he is characterized as "eminently a dilettante" (New York: Macmillan and Co., 1894), 21. Houghton wrote to Whitman on September 27, 1875, and proposed a visit at the end of October or early in November, and on November 3, 1875, he asked whether November 6 would be convenient. [back]


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