Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: William T. Stead to Walt Whitman, 10 December 1890

Date: December 10, 1890

Whitman Archive ID: loc.04335

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, "1890," is in an unknown hand.

Contributors to digital file: Kirby Little, Ian Faith, Alex Ashland, and Stephanie Blalock

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The Review of Reviews.
Edited by W. T. STEAD.
Mowbray House,
Norfolk St, Strand,
December 10th., 1890.

Walt Whitman, Esq.
Connecticut, U. S. A.
Dear Sir,

I thank you very much for sending me a proof of your article on "Poets."1 Had you not done so, I should have been compelled to have brought out the Christmas number of the REVIEW OF REVIEWS2—a copy of which I send you herewith3—without any extract from the "North American Review."4 The parcel of "North Americans" which ought to have reached London, was lost between Liverpool and London, and I have not to this day seen a copy of the Review.

Might I hope for the privilege of an autograph portrait of yourself, with a word of suggestion, criticism, or approval of the REVIEW OF REVIEWS? Next year I am going to acclimatize the REVIEW in the New World, and a word of welcome from you would be most useful.

I am,
Yours truly,
W T Stead

William Thomas Stead (1849–1912) was a well-known English journalist and editor of The Pall Mall Gazette in the 1880s. He was a proponent of what he called "government by journalism" and advocated for a strong press that would influence public opinion and affect government decision-making. His investigative reports were much discussed and often had significant social impact. He has sometimes been credited with inventing what came to be called "tabloid journalism," since he worked to make newspapers more attractive to readers, incorporating maps, illustrations, interviews, and eye-catching headlines. He died on the Titanic when it sank in 1912.


1. Whitman's essay "Old Poets" was first published in the November 1890 issue of The North American Review[back]

2. The Review of Reviews was a magazine begun by the reform journalist William Thomas Stead (1849–1912) in 1890 and published in Great Britain. It contained reviews and excerpts from other magazines and journals, as well as original pieces, many written by Stead himself. [back]

3. The Christmas issue of The Review of Reviews reprinted Whitman's poem "To the Sun-Set Breeze" and extracts from his essay "Old Poets." [back]

4. The North American Review was the first literary magazine in the United States. The journalist Charles Allen Thorndike Rice (1851–1889) edited and published the magazine in New York from 1876 until his death. After Rice's death, Lloyd Bryce became owner and editor. [back]


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