Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Robert S. Watson to Walt Whitman, 29 September [1884]

Date: September 29, 1884

Whitman Archive ID: loc.05898

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: Alex Kinnaman, Stefan Schöberlein, Nicole Gray, and Ed Folsom

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Cressington Park
Sep 29

To Walter Whitman, Esqr

To my only Brother, who for nearly two years has been a helpless sufferer in Santiago, I am sending a specially prepared Birthday Book: and it is my very earnest wish to obtain for insertion in my Book the name of your most honored self.

I trust you will graciously pardon my freedom in asking the favour of your sign-manual on enclosed slip; and if you can possibly oblige in this direction the Book will ever be most gratefully remembered by

Your obedient servant
R. Watson1

Robert Spence Watson (1837–1911), a labor reformer, politician, writer, and distinguished lawyer, was apparently one of William Michael Rossetti's friends and among the early English admirers of Leaves of Grass. Whitman had sent a set of books on August 30, 1876. On September 29, 1884, Watson requested an inscribed copy of Leaves of Grass.


1. On the back of this letter, Whitman began drafting notes for an article about himself, titled "Walt Whitman in Camden" which appeared in The Critic on February 28, 1885, under the signature of George Selwyn. It was reprinted in Authors at Home, ed. J. L. and J. B. Gilder (1888), and in Critic Pamphlet No. 2 (1898). [back]


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