Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: John G. Whittier to Walt Whitman, 13 January 1888

Date: January 13, 1888

Whitman Archive ID: loc.04631

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: Jeannette Schollaert, Nicole Gray, Ian Faith, and Stephanie Blalock

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Oak Knoll
Jany 13, 1888.

Dear Friend,

But for illness I should have thanked thee before this for thy vigorous lines of greeting in Munyon's Illustrated World,1 combining as they do the cradle and evening song of my life. My brother writers have been very generous to me, and I heartily thank them for it.

With all good wishes I am thy friend
John G. Whittier

John Greenleaf Whittier (1807–1892) earned fame as a staunch advocate for the abolition of slavery. As a poet, he employed traditional forms and meters, and, not surprisingly, he was not an admirer of Whitman's unconventional prosody. For Whitman's view of Whittier, see the poet's numerous comments throughout the nine volumes of Horace Traubel's With Walt Whitman in Camden (various publishers: 1906–1996) and Whitman's "My Tribute to Four Poets," in Specimen Days (Philadelphia: Rees Welsh & Co., 1882–'83), 180–181.


1. Whitman's greeting to Whittier ("As the Greek's Signal Flame") appeared in the New York Herald on December 15, 1887 and in Munyon's Illustrated World in January 1888. [back]


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