Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to S. S. McClure, 3 September 1887

Date: September 3, 1887

Whitman Archive ID: med.00809

Source: The location of this manuscript is unknown. Miller derived his transcription from a transcript of the letter published in a catalog by Dodd, Mead & Company, January, 1903. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 4:119. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Alex Ashland, Stefan Schöberlein, Caterina Bernardini, and Stephanie Blalock

Camden, New Jersey
Sept. 3, '87

Can you use this little poem, "Shakespeare-Bacon Cipher?" The price is $25. . . . I retain the right to print in future book. It will not be proper for you to take out copyright—but the thing is exclusively yours until after printing and publishing in your papers.1

Samuel Sidney McClure (1857–1949) was the co-founder and editor of McClure's Magazine. Well-known for its investigative journalism, the illustrated monthly initially rejected Whitman's submissions and only posthumously published some of his poetry (in 1897).


1. After McClure refused "Shakspere-Bacon's Cipher," Whitman sent it on September 6 to Henry Alden, of Harper's New Monthly Magazine, who also rejected it. On September 13 it was submitted to The Cosmopolitan, which paid $20 and printed it in October (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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