Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Horace C. Simmons to Walt Whitman, January 1889

Date: January 1889

Whitman Archive ID: loc.03711

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, "Horace C Simmons," is in an unknown hand.

Contributors to digital file: Blake Bronson-Bartlett, Alex Ashland, Breanna Himschoot, and Stephanie Blalock

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12 Princess Road,
South Norwood,
London, S.E.
January, 1889.
'Stranger, if passing, you meet me...'1

Dear Sir,

With this note I send you a [little?] Berkshire almanack which if you look into it at all will g[ive?] you some idea of the extent and variety of business which the energetic and enterprising lady at whose request I write is successfully conducting at Reading2

Reading. This business established by my old and valued friend Mr. George Lovejoy—whose right hand Miss Langley3 became in business matters of late years [illegible] was purchased at his death by her and has since been even further developed. Few people in Berkshire are unacquainted with the name of 'Lovejoy' as many are reminded by it of obligations incurred and help or advice received from him to whom it belonged.

But what is all this to you?—Well, merely merely a little preamble to prepare your mind for a request Miss Langley desired me, when at Reading—(my native town—) for the New Year's day last week, to make to you that you might send her a complete list of all books &c published by you, that she may obtain the same and add them to her General Circulating Library.

I d[on'?]t quite know why she did not write herself but she is a busy woman and she knows that I am am glad to promote your fame and to help, as far as I may, both her and you and, besides, she remembers, what I daresay you have long forgotten, that I had the honour of seeing you 'at home' in Mickle St in 1886 [(august)?] and was very kindly received by the poet of democracy whose courtesy and truth encourages me to hope that this note will find favour or forgiveness with him:—and Miss Langley a reply!

Do not trouble to write to

Yours Very Truly
Horace C. Simmons

As yet we have no information about this correspondent.


1. Simmons is quoting from Whitman's poem "To You," the final section of "Messenger Leaves," which was published in the third edition of Leaves of Grass in 1860. [back]

2. Simmons has written "Mr. Walt Whitman" at the bottom of the first page of the letter. [back]

3. Eliza Langley (?–1897) was the proprietress of a well-known bookselling, library, and stationery establishment on London Street in Reading. After serving as a manageress to George Lovejoy, the former owner of the business, she purchased it from his trustees in 1884 and acted as proprietress until her death in December 1897. She was the daughter of George Langley, a paper-maker for Ford Mills, in Kent ("Obituary" [for Miss Langley], The Bookseller No. 482 [January 13, 1898]: 16). [back]


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