Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to the Editor of the Century, 3 April 1886

Date: April 3, 1886

Whitman Archive ID: med.00773

Source: The location of this manuscript is unknown. The transcription presented here is derived from John McIntosh Kell, Recollections of a Naval Life (Washington: The Neale Company, 1900), 293–294. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Nicole Gray, Matt Cohen, Ian Faith, and Kyle Barton

Camden, New Jersey,
April 3d 1886.

My reading for the last two or three days (limited) of the articles in Century about Kearsarge and Alabama, which I have just finished. They form by far the best contribution I know to the literature of the Secession era, and are full of realism and thrill. The pictures are masterly. I only wish we could have accounts of all the swell episodes of the war in the same way, or approximately to it. I want personally to thank you all, writers and picture-makers.

Walt Whitman.

The editor of The Century at this time was Richard Watson Gilder (1844–1909). Whitman had met Gilder for the first time in 1877 at John H. Johnston's (Gay Wilson Allen, The Solitary Singer [New York: New York University Press, 1955], 482), and considered Gilder one of the "always sane men in the general madness" of "that New York art delirium" (Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Sunday, August 5, 1888). For more about Gilder, see Susan L. Roberson, "Gilder, Richard Watson (1844–1909)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). As this letter indicates, in the 1880s The Century published a series of articles about the American Civil War.


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