Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: James M. Scovel to Walt Whitman, [1890]

Date: [1890]

Whitman Archive ID: loc.03757

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, "Scovel," is in the hand of Walt Whitman.

Contributors to digital file: Marie Ernster, Amanda J. Axley, Stephanie Blalock, and Paige Wilkinson

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Dear Walt

I see that Thorne,1 (who is a literary "mountebank" and who has a quarterly Review called the Globe takes a shy at you in his April No.—It is only a line or two and amounts to nothing!—

Stoddart2 manager of Lippincotts3 still treasures up the idea of having you to go to Gloucester to a Symposium: with the idea to have it written up for July Lippincott4 as one of the "Round Robin" Series—It is a good idea and you can say somethings which will be embalmed for futurity. Don't you think y [illegible] in the early part of [illegible] Ju [illegible]


Couldn't you give me something of interest to the Time for Satur [illegible]5

James Matlack Scovel (1833–1904) began to practice law in Camden in 1856. During the Civil War, he was in the New Jersey legislature and became a colonel in 1863. He campaigned actively for Horace Greeley in 1872, and was a special agent for the U.S. Treasury during Chester Arthur's administration. In the 1870s, Whitman frequently went to Scovel's home for Sunday breakfast (Whitman's Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). For a description of these breakfasts, see Walt Whitman's Diary in Canada, ed. William Sloane Kennedy (Boston: Small, Maynard, 1904), 59–60. For Scovel, see George R. Prowell's The History of Camden County, New Jersey (Philadelphia: L. J. Richards, 1886).


1. William Henry Thorne (1839–1907) was editor and proprietor of The Globe Quarterly Review in New York. He was born in England and came to America as a Protestant clergyman. He later converted to Catholicism and founded The Globe in 1889. [back]

2. Joseph Marshall Stoddart (1845–1921) published Stoddart's Encyclopaedia America, established Stoddart's Review in 1880, which was merged with The American in 1882, and became the editor of Lippincott's Monthly Magazine in 1886. On January 11, 1882, Whitman received an invitation from Stoddart through J. E. Wainer, one of his associates, to dine with Oscar Wilde on January 14 (Clara Barrus, Whitman and Burroughs—Comrades [Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1931], 235n). [back]

3. Lippincott's Monthly Magazine was a literary magazine published in Philadelphia from 1868 to 1915. Joseph Marshall Stoddart was the editor of the magazine from 1886 to 1894, and he frequently published material by and about Whitman. For more information on Whitman's numerous publications here, see Susan Belasco, "Lippincott's Magazine." [back]

4. The July 1890 issue of Lippincott's did feature a "Round-Robin Talk" (with Thomas Nelson Page, J. M. Stoddart, Moses P. Handy, and others). The July 1891 issue did not contain a "Round-Robin Talk," so it is safe to assume that this letter was written in 1890. [back]

5. The rest of this letter has been torn away. A line has been drawn through this letter in black ink. [back]


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