Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: John Russell Young to Walt Whitman, 3 November 1891

Date: November 3, 1891

Whitman Archive ID: loc.04890

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: Andrew David King, Cristin Noonan, Brandon James O'Neil, and Stephanie Blalock

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Nov. 3. 1891.

My Dear Walt Whitman:

I send you in due conveyance, something I wrote about Grant.1 I hope you will accept it, as a souvenir of our pleasant meeting with Arnold,2 and as an expression of my affection and esteem.

Yours ever,
Mr. Russell Young.

Walt Whitman.

John Russell Young (1840–1899) was a journalist, United States minister to China, and the seventh Librarian of Congress. In Men and Memories (New York, F. Tennyson Neely, 1901), a posthumous collection of Young's personal reminiscences, his editor and wife, May Dow Russell Young writes: "A deep and genuine affection existed between Walt Whitman and John Russell Young, the result of many years' acquaintance and profound admiration" (76). The collection includes Young's account of reading the first edition of Leaves of Grass and later meeting Whitman in Washington, D.C. (76–109). For more information, see John C. Broderick, "John Russell Young: The Internationalist as Librarian," Quarterly Journal of the Library of Congress 33 (April 1976), 116–149.


1. Between 1877 and 1879, Young travelled with former president Ulysses S. Grant on a world tour and documented their travels in the two-volume work, Around the World with General Grant (New York: The American News Company, 1879). On November 3, 1891, Young sent the volumes to Whitman "as a souvenir of our pleasant meeting with [Sir Edwin] Arnold," an English poet and admirer of Whitman. [back]

2. In Men and Memories (New York: F. Tennyson Neely, 1901), John Russell Young describes arranging the meeting of Walt Whitman, celebrity manager James B. Pond, and English poet Sir Edwin Arnold at Whitman's Camden home on November 2, 1891: "Sir Edwin had a profound admiration for the poet, and was the bearer among other things of a message from [Alfred, Lord] Tennyson. . . . [Whitman] was pleased, but still and always in reserved sovereign fashion, to hear from Arnold of his growing fame in England" (see especially 90–96). Whitman related his thoughts on the visit to Traubel on Monday, November 2, 1891[back]


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