Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: James Grant Wilson to Walt Whitman, 12 July 1890

Date: July 12, 1890

Whitman Archive ID: loc.04498

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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St. Lawrence River,
J. W. ALMY, Manager.
12 July 1890

Dear Mr Whitman

The artist Reich1 is now completing a large etching of you which is to appear in folio with portraits of other poets and writers in a volume to be entitled "American Authors." For this work I am expected to contribute the letter press. As it is proposed that each singer should have his favorite poem appear in fac-simile, will you at your leisure, kindly make a mss. copy of your favorite, or a portion of it, for the purpose mentioned? For the month of July my address is as above. After July no 15, East Seventy-fourth St, New York City. Mr Reich will soon send you a proof of your portrait for which you may remember that you him a short sitting last winter

Were you pleased with the article and portrait of yourself which appeared in the sixth volume of my "Cyclopaedia of American Biography, issued by the Appletons? If you did not happen to have seen the work, I will take pleasure in sending you the sketch and illustration on my return to the city next month. Believe me with best wishes,

Very truly yours
Jas Grant Wilson

Walt Whitman Esq

General James Grant Wilson (see the letter from Whitman to Wilson of May 21, 1879) was an editor, author, and bookseller. He was a Brevet Brigadier General in the Civil War; later, he served as President of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society and as an editor for Appleton's. He was a frequent contributor to periodicals, and he wrote or edited numerous works, including Bryant and His Friends (1886), a four-volume Memorial History of New York (1892–1893), and a biography titled Life of Fitz-Green Halleck (1869). For more information on Wilson and a more complete list of his principal works, see "General James Grant Wilson," Makers of New York: An Historical Work Giving Portraits and Sketches of the Most Eminent Citizens of New York, edited by Charles Morris (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1894), 103.


1. Jacques Reich (1852–1923) was a portrait etcher from Hungary. He studied at the National Academy of Design in New York and at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts; he would later establish a studio in New York. He also worked for the United States Mint. Reich made the drawing of Abraham Lincoln that appeared on the tickets for Whitman's Lincoln Lecture in Madison Square Theatre in New York in 1887. He visited Whitman late in the poet's life and made what is believed to be the last drawing of Whitman done in the poet's lifetime, dated "Feb. 3 '90." For a reproduction of Reich's drawing of Whitman, see Edwin Haviland Miller, ed., Selected Letters of Walt Whitman (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1990), 273. [back]


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