Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Joseph Marshall Stoddart to Walt Whitman, 5 January 1891

Date: January 5, 1891

Whitman Archive ID: loc.05869

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.

Notes for this letter were created by Whitman Archive staff and/or were derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller, 6 vols. (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), and supplemented or updated by Whitman Archive staff.

Editorial notes: The annotation, "It is to be call'd autobiographic, but is not an auto-b," is in the hand of Walt Whitman.

Related item: Whitman wrote his January 7, 1891, letter to the Canadian physician Richard Maurice Bucke on the back of this letter from Stoddart. Whitman inclunded Stoddart's letter as an enclosure for Bucke to read. See loc.07874.

Contributors to digital file: Blake Bronson-Bartlett, Amanda J. Axley, Marie Ernster, and Stephanie Blalock

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Jan. 5th, 1891 Walt Whitman, Esq.

Dear Mr. Whitman:—

I have delayed sending you the enclosed check until now, thinking I would have been over myself to see you, but as I may be delayed on account of the unusual press of business, I herein send check for $50.00 in sentiment for the autobiography and for the poem. Please find enclosed proofs of a page of poetry which please return after you have examined it

I will send or bring the proof of the autobiography, in a few days, in the meantime, if you see Mr. Traubel,1 will you tell him to please hurry up with his part of the work.

With all good wished for your good health and prosperity for the New Year,

Yours truly,
J. M. Stoddart

All of these are to go in the March number.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 1889. On January 11 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).


1. Horace L. Traubel (1858–1919) was an American essayist, poet, and magazine publisher. He is best remembered as the literary executor, biographer, and self-fashioned "spirit child" of Walt Whitman. During the late 1880s and until Whitman's death in 1892, Traubel visited the poet virtually every day and took thorough notes of their conversations, which he later transcribed and published in three large volumes entitled With Walt Whitman in Camden (1906, 1908, & 1914). After his death, Traubel left behind enough manuscripts for six more volumes of the series, the final two of which were published in 1996. For more on Traubel, see Ed Folsom, "Traubel, Horace L. [1858–1919]," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]

2. Stoddart is referring to plans for the March issue of Lippincott's in 1891 (Volume 47, pages 376–389). The issue contained Whitman's portrait as a frontispiece, "Old Age Echoes" (including "Sounds of Winter," "The Unexpress'd," "Sail Out for Good, Eidólon Yacht!" and "After the Argument"), Whitman's "Some Personal and Old-Age Memoranda," and Horace Traubel's "Walt Whitman: The Poet and Philosopher of Man," and "The Old Man Himself. A Postscript." [back]


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