Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Robert Carter, 7 May 1875

Date: May 7, 1875

Whitman Archive ID: med.00438

Source: The location of the original manuscript is unknown. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 2:332. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Janel Cayer, Kenneth M. Price, Elizabeth Lorang, Kathryn Kruger, Zachary King, and Eric Conrad

431 Stevens st.
cor West.
N. Jersey.
May 7, '75 1

Robert Carter,
Dear Sir,2

Thinking that possibly I might be itemised or briefly biographised in the Cyclopaedia I thought I would send you, (or to Mr. Dana,)3 the accompanying sketch—some authentic statistics, (as I find I am beginning to be noted, & they make sad work of it sometimes.)4

Leaving of course the whole thing in your hands, I should like you to get the statistics, the fact-basis, right—(& should you think proper can be further consulted here, or proof sent, &c.)—My book Leaves of Grass as now printed, is in its permanent form—My other Vol. of equal size Two Rivulets, (i.e. of Real and Ideal) will comprise all my other writings, Prose & Verse, & is now being put into type. I am still prostrated with Cerebral & liver affection, but work occasionally.

Walt Whitman


1. Transcript. [back]

2. Robert Carter (1819–1879) was at various times editor of the Boston Commonwealth, the Boston Telegraph, the Boston Atlas, the Rochester Democrat, and Appleton's Journal. He assisted Dana in editing the first edition of the New American Cyclopaedia, and in 1873 he was engaged in the revision. [back]

3. Charles A. Dana (1819–1897) was the owner as well as the editor of the New York Sun from 1868 until his death and was at one time co-editor of the New American Cyclopaedia. Whitman permitted Dana to print Emerson's famous letter of 1855. [back]

4. The brief notice in the new edition ignored Whitman's letter. In 1892, however, Appleton's printed the "sketch" in facsimile in the Annual Encyclopaedia. See American Literature, 25 (1953), 361–362. [back]


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