Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Richard J. Hinton to Walt Whitman, 30 May 1889

Date: May 30, 1889

Whitman Archive ID: loc.08097

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, Brandon James O'Neil, Andrew David King, Stephanie Blalock, and Jason McCormick

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1021 Eleventh St N.W.
Washington D.C.
May 30.1889—

My Dear Walt—

Let me send my hand & heart to you in this pen-scrawl, bearing loving, reverential, congratulations to you on yr 70th birthday. I'm so glad you are still here in your familiar form: the other Walt the "Comrade of all" will be among us always. Accept then my love, my hopes of other birthdays, my fraternal & gladsome kiss and word on this birthday

I would have liked to have been at the dinner,1 but as I did not know of it till within two days, having had no word or "invite" I could not arrange. However I offer you my congratulations.

Fraternally & Faithfully yours
"Dick" (RJ) Hinton
My wife joins me fully.

Richard J. Hinton (1830–1901) was born in London and came to the U. S. in 1851. He trained as a printer, and, like James Redpath (with whom Walt Whitman corresponded on August 6, 1863), went to Kansas and joined John Brown's militant group of abolitionists. In fact, but for an accident he would have been with Brown at Harper's Ferry. A man mistaken for Hinton was hanged. With Redpath, Hinton was the author of Hand-book to Kansas Territory and the Rocky Mountains' Gold Region (1859). Later he wrote Rebel Invasion of Missouri and Kansas (1865) and John Brown and His Men (1894). Apparently Hinton had suggested that Thayer & Eldridge print Leaves of Grass; see the New Voice, XVI (4 February 1899), 2. Hinton served in the Union Army from 1861 to 1865, and saw Whitman while lying wounded in a hospital, a scene which he described in the Cincinnati Commercial on August 26, 1871. After the war Hinton wrote for many newspapers. He defended William D. O'Connor's The Good Gray Poet in the Milwaukee Sentinel on February 9, 1866. Hinton's article in the Rochester Evening Express on March 7, 1868, was a lengthy account of Walt Whitman's "Fame and Fortunes in England and America," with quotations from O'Connor and Burroughs. Obviously pleased, Whitman sent it to friends, including Rossetti, who acknowledged it on April 12, 1868. See Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Friday, September 28, 1888; William Sloane Kennedy, The Fight of a Book for the World (West Yarmouth, MA: Stonecroft Press, 1926), 19, 67, 110–111, 242; the Boston Transcript, December 21, 1901.


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]


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