Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Sylvester Baxter to Walt Whitman, 21 June 1887

Date: June 21, 1887

Whitman Archive ID: loc.07100

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. Ted Genoways (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2004), vol. 7, and supplemented or updated by Whitman Archive staff.

Editorial note: The annotation, "see notes Sept 11 1888," is in the hand of Horace Traubel.

Contributors to digital file: Alex Ashland, Stefan Schöberlein, Caterina Bernardini, and Stephanie Blalock

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R. M. Pulsifer & Co.
R. M. Pulsifer,
E. B. Haskell,
C. H. Andrews.
Office of
The Boston Herald,
Boston, Mass.,
June 21,1887

My dear friend:

Yours of the 18th received,1 and in response I enclose a check for $373. I hope to be able to send more in a few days by calling in the amounts already subscribed as speedily as the pressure of my journalistic work will permit. Had I more time it might progress somewhat faster, but I regard it a privilege to be able to do what I can, and I only wish more energetic hands and a more eloquent tongue might be in charge.

Faithfully yours
Sylvester Baxter

P.S.—We all want you to suit yourself thoroughly in the matter and we hope you will soon find yourself domiciled amid surroundings after your own heart.2

I have had a call from a bright young German-Japanese, your friend Hartmann,3 who is on his way back to Philadelphia from Europe. It is satisfying to see your friends numbered among such diverse races.

Faithfully yours
Sylvester Baxter

Sylvester Baxter (1850–1927) was on the staff of the Boston Herald. Apparently he met Whitman for the first time when the poet delivered his Lincoln address in Boston in April, 1881; see Rufus A. Coleman, "Whitman and Trowbridge," PMLA 63 (1948), 268. Baxter wrote many newspaper columns in praise of Whitman's writings, and in 1886 attempted to obtain a pension for the poet. For more, see Christopher O. Griffin, "Baxter, Sylvester [1850–1927]," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


1. See Whitman's letter to Baxter of June 18, 1887[back]

2. Boston friends were raising money to buy a summer cottage they hoped would improve Whitman's failing health. Whitman eventually used the money to build his extravagant mausoleum in Harleigh Cemetery—to the shock and dismay of those who had worked hardest to solicit money for the cottage. [back]

3. Carl Sadakichi Hartmann (ca. 1867–1944) was an art historian and early critic of photography as an art form. He visited Whitman in Camden in the 1880s and published his conversations with the poet in 1895. Generally unpopular with other supporters of the poet, he was known during his years in Greenwich Village as the "King of Bohemia." For more information about Hartmann, see John F. Roche, "Hartmann, C. Sadakichi (ca. 1867–1944)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]


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