Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Aaron Smith to Walt Whitman, 31 March [1859]

Date: March 31, [1859]

Whitman Archive ID: loc.03673

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, "from Aaron Smith of Williamsburgh about new paper," is in an unknown hand.

Contributors to digital file: Lauren Claeys, Amanda J. Axley, Marie Ernster, Erel Michaelis, Kassie Jo Baron, Jeff Hill, and Stephanie Blalock

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March 31.
145 Grand St.1

Mr. Whitman,
Dr Sir,—

Mr. Twombly2 and myself are about to commence the publication of a new weekly journal; devoted to the interests of Brooklyn, (for which we have received much encouragement,) and think we could give you a good position upon it. Our printing office will be here, but we wish a publication office near the City Hall, and an editor who will take charge of it. I wish you would call on us, at 145 Grand St., as soon as you can if you desire to have a connection with us.

Respectfully Yours
Aaron Smith

Aaron Smith (b. 1816), a shoemaker by trade, founded the Williamsburgh Times in 1848 along with George C. Bennett (1842–1885) and Egbert Guernsey (1823–1904). This newspaper later became the Brooklyn Daily Times, a paper that Whitman both contributed to and edited in the late 1850s. For more information on Whitman's work at the Times, see Karen Karbiener, "Reconstructing Whitman's Desk At The Brooklyn Daily Times," Walt Whitman Quarterly Review, 33.1 [Summer 2015], 21–50.


1. This letter is addressed: Walter Whitman, Esq. | Brooklyn, L. I. It is postmarked: Brooklyn | APR | [illegible]. [back]

2. Doggett's New York City Directory, for 1850–1851 lists William H. Twombly (1822–1899) as a printer residing at 221 Grand Street, a short distance from the letter's return address. Later, Twombly published a workingman's newspaper titled the Daily Voice, and he went on to become the editor of the Reading Chronicle in Pennsylvania. In 1899, at the time of Twombly's death from neuralgia, he had spent 64 years as a printer and a newspaper man ("Death of William H. Twombly," The Boston Globe, April 17, 1899, 4). [back]


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