Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Julius Chambers to Walt Whitman, 27 May 1889

Date: May 27, 1889

Whitman Archive ID: loc.08096

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: Zainab Saleh, Stephanie Blalock, and Brandon James O'Neil

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The World.
News Department
May 27th 1889.

My Dear, "Good, Gray Poet."—

I have received the word which you were thoughtful and kind enough to send me, and with it your expression of a desire that I should be present at the dinner1 which your appreciative fellow countrymen are about to give you in commemoration of your birthday.2 I thank you, my dear sir, for your remembrance, and shall cherish it as long as I shall live. I am a much over worked young man, (though only "starting out in life," as compared with your years of fruitful effort), and cannot go to Camden much as I would wish to.

When I say that I respect you, you will understand me; were I to say that I love you, I would only speak the truth

Yours is a great, big personality, and your hall-mark on English verse will endure as long as the language itself.

Believe me,
Yours very sincerely,
Julius Chambers.

Julius Chambers (1850–1920) was an American author, investigative journalist, and travel writer. After working as a reporter for the New York Tribune, he became the editor of the New York Herald and, later, the New York World.


1. For Whitman's seventieth birthday, Horace Traubel and a large committee planned a local celebration for the poet in Morgan's Hall in Camden, New Jersey. The committee included Henry (Harry) L. Bonsall, Geoffrey Buckwalter, and Thomas B. Harned. See Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Tuesday, May 7, 1889. The day was celebrated with a testimonial dinner. Numerous authors and friends of the poet prepared and delivered addresses to mark the occasion. Whitman, who did not feel well at the time, arrived after the dinner to listen to the remarks. [back]

2. This letter was printed, along with numerous other notes and addresses honoring Whitman on the occasion of his 70th birthday, in Camden's Compliment to Walt Whitman: May 31, 1889: Notes, Addresses, Letters, Telegrams, ed. Horace L. Traubel (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: David McKay), 67. [back]


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