Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Andrew H. Rome to Walt Whitman, 12 July 1890

Date: July 12, 1890

Whitman Archive ID: loc.03563

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.

Contributors to digital file: Ian Faith, Ryan Furlong, Blake Bronson-Bartlett, and Stephanie Blalock



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76 Myrtle Ave.,
Brooklyn, NY.
July 12/90

Dear Friend

Dr J. Johnston,1 of Bolton, England, the son of an old school-mate of mine, and a correspondent, I believe, of yours, will hand this to you, and will be very much gratified with an interview, if the state of your health will permit it.

I have long promised myself the pleasure of a visit to you, but circumstances have always been against me, and now, as I hear you receive very few visitors, I have almost given up the hope.

Tom joins with me in the most cordial good wishes, and in the hope of seeing you some time in the near future. You will see by the address, we are now located not far from your old stomping ground, the building we were in for over twenty years having been demolished to make room for a great office building

Remind us to Dr Bucke,2 if you should see him, and believe me to be

Faithfully yours
Andrew H. Rome

To Walt Whitman


Correspondent:
Andrew Rome, perhaps with the help of his brother Tom, printed Whitman's first edition of Leaves of Grass (1855) in a small shop at the intersection of Fulton and Cranberry in Brooklyn. It was likely the first book the firm ever printed.

Notes:

1. Dr. John Johnston (d. 1918) was a physician from Bolton, England, who, with James W. Wallace, founded the "Bolton College" of English admirers of the poet. Johnston and Wallace corresponded with Whitman and with Horace Traubel and other members of the Whitman circle in the United States, and they separately visited the poet and published memoirs of their trips in John Johnston and James William Wallace, Visits to Walt Whitman in 1890–1891 by Two Lancashire Friends (London: Allen and Unwin, 1917). For more information on Johnston, see Larry D. Griffin, "Johnston, Dr. John (d.1918)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]

2. Richard Maurice Bucke (1837–1902) was a Canadian physician and psychiatrist who grew close to Whitman after reading Leaves of Grass in 1867 (and later memorizing it) and meeting the poet in Camden a decade later. Even before meeting Whitman, Bucke claimed in 1872 that a reading of Leaves of Grass led him to experience "cosmic consciousness" and an overwhelming sense of epiphany. Bucke became the poet's first biographer with Walt Whitman (Philadelphia: David McKay, 1883), and he later served as one of his medical advisors and literary executors. For more on the relationship of Bucke and Whitman, see Howard Nelson, "Bucke, Richard Maurice," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]


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