Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: William Rideing to Walt Whitman, 17 October 1890

Date: October 17, 1890

Whitman Archive ID: loc.08196

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.

Related item: On the back of this letter fragment, Whitman drafted what appear to be notes for comments to be delivered after the noted lawyer and agnostic Col. Robert G. Ingersoll's lecture Liberty in Literature. Testimonial to Walt Whitman. Ingersoll delivered the talk on October 21, 1890, at Horticultural Hall in Philadelphia on the occasion of an event that was held in honor of and as a benefit for Whitman.

Contributors to digital file: Heather Cooper, Amanda J. Axley, Marie Ernster, and Stephanie Blalock

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October 17, 1890.
[Nort]h American Review.
[illegible] East Fourteenth Street, New York.

[illegible] Whitman:—

[illegible] inclose proofs1 of your [illegible] Please read them and [illegible] [Ret]urn to us by the [next?] [illegible][wi]thout fail. I thin[k?] [illegible]leted one or two places [illegible]ere is a lack of continuity [illegible] [thness?]. But as a whole [illegible] is excellent.

Yours Faithfully
William H. Rideing

[illegible]tman Esq.

William Henry Rideing (1853–1918) was an American newspaper editor and author who began his career at the New York Tribune, and worked at various times for the New York Times, Newark News, Springfield Republican, and Boston Journal. From 1881 to his death, Rideing was the Associate Editor of The Youth's Companion and, in 1889, became an assistant editor at the North American Review. He is also author of several books, including A Little Upstart: A Novel (Boston: Cupples, Upham, and Co. 1885), The Captured Cunarder: An Episode of the Atlantic (Boston: Copeland and Day, 1896), and George Washington (New York: Macmillan, 1916). For more information, see his obituary, "William H. Rideing, Boston Editor, Dead" in The Boston Globe (August 23, 1918), 6.


1. On October 3, 1890, William H. Rideing, the assistant editor of the North American Review, had written to Whitman and requested that the poet write an article of about "4000 words" on "Recent aspects of American literature" for "the sum of Two hundred dollars" or on "some other subject on which you would be more willing to write." Whitman sent his essay "Old Poets" to the magazine on October 9. Rideing responded with this letter, and he enclosed a proof of Whitman's piece. Whitman returned proof on October 18 and received $75 (Whitman's Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). [back]


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