Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Frederick Oldach & Company, 5 November 1890

Date: November 5, 1890

Whitman Archive ID: loc.07852

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), 5:113–114. 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, Ian Faith, Alex Ashland, and Stephanie Blalock

328 Mickle Street Camden NJ
Nov: 5 18901

Messrs: Oldach

Please bind up in the same style as formerly, exactly same & sort (copy herewith) one hundred and fifty (150) copies big book complete works,2 with plates &c: & the rest (the sheets) fold up, with plates put in, all carefully done, & each copy neatly tied with good cord, so as to be ready at once when wanted. You have there all the plates I believe. I will furnish you the first sheets, for the whole, with autograph, wh' I have here—will also furnish you with back labels.

Walt Whitman

Frederick Oldach (1823–1907) was a German bookbinder whose Philadelphia firm bound Whitman's November Boughs (1888) and Complete Poems & Prose (1888), as well as the special seventieth-birthday issue of Leaves of Grass (1889).


1. This letter is addressed: Oldach & Co: | Book Binders | 1215 Filbert Street | Philadelphia. [back]

2. Whitman often referred to Complete Poems & Prose (1888) as his "big book." The volume 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, and Frederick Oldach bound the volume, 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]


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