Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Arthur Newton Brown, 20 March 1889

Date: March 20, 1889

Whitman Archive ID: loc.07666

Source: The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. The transcription presented here is derived from The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 4:305. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Blake Bronson-Bartlett, Caterina Bernardini, Alex Ashland, and Stephanie Blalock

328 Mickle street
Camden New Jersey
March 20 '891

Dear Sir

Am not definitely certain f'm yours of 18th (rec'd—thanks) whether you request the new big 900 vol. complete poems & prose works2—If I were I sh'd send it at once—The price is $6—please if you wish that send me the am't in p o order, & I will immediately dispatch the Vol. by express.3

Respectfully &c:
Walt Whitman

Arthur Newton Brown (1856 or 1857–1933) worked as a Professor of English and a librarian at the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis for twenty-five years. He and his wife later lived in the Coconut Grove neighborhood of Miami, Florida, where he resided at the time of his death. See Arthur Newton Brown's obituary in The New York Times on January 16, 1933.


1. This letter is addressed: Arthur Newton Brown | U S N Library | Annapolis | Md:. It is postmarked: Camden, N.J. | Mar 20 | 8 PM | 88(?). [back]

2. Whitman's Complete Poems & Prose (1888), a volume Whitman often referred to as the "big book," was published by the poet himself—in an arrangement with publisher David McKay, who allowed Whitman to use the plates for both Leaves of Grass and Specimen Days—in December 1888. With the help of Horace Traubel, Whitman made the presswork and binding decisions for the volume. Frederick Oldach bound the book, which included a profile photo of the poet on the title page. For more information on the book, see Ed Folsom, Whitman Making Books/Books Making Whitman: A Catalog and Commentary (University of Iowa: Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, 2005). [back]

3. See Whitman's March 24, 1889, letter to Brown. [back]


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