Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to W. H. Piper & Co., 3 January 1872

Date: January 3, 1872

Whitman Archive ID: mcl.00001

Source: Mason City Public Library. 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: Alex Kinnaman, Elizabeth Lorang, Eder Jaramillo, John Schwaninger, Caterina Bernardini, Marie Ernster, Cristin Noonan, Paige Wilkinson, and Stephanie Blalock

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Department of Justice
Jan 3 1872

Dear Sirs:

Wishing to close up matters,1 I solicit, as early as convenient, an answer to my letter2 of about two weeks since, (in response to yours of a day or two previous) in relation to my books left with you on sale (as per your receipt of Nov. 3d, 1870)

Yours resp'lly
Walt Whitman

W.H. Piper & Co. was a Boston publisher located at Washington and Franklin streets. They also printed monthly literary bulletins spotlighting current literature.


1. In a letter on July 20, 1867, John T. Trowbridge had said that William H. Piper and Co., booksellers in Boston, were willing to take 50 copies of the new edition of Leaves of Grass, and that he could personally recommend the firm. For some time, Whitman did not act on the suggestion that this firm could retail his Leaves of Grass. However, in his September 24, 1870, letter to Trowbridge, Whitman announced that he had "engaged in electrotyping a new edition of my book." Then, Whitman asked for the name of the Boston publisher who had been willing to sell his book: "You sent me word a year or more ago of some Boston publisher, or bookseller, who was willing (or perhaps wished) to sell my book—Who was it?—I should like to have some such man there—to sell the book on commission, & be agent, depositor, &c—." The firm was advertised as Whitman's Boston agent in books published in 1871 and 1872. Later Whitman authorized Asa K. Butts and Co. to collect the money Piper owed to him; see Whitman's December 29, 1873, and February 4, 1874, letters to Butts. For more on Trowbridge, see Whitman's December 27, 1863, letter. [back]

2. See Whitman's letter to W. H. Piper & Co. of December 8, 1871 in which he recalls the receipt from Nov. 3, 1870 for 25 copies each of Leaves of Grass, Passage to India, and Democratic Vistas[back]


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