Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to the Editor of Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 29 August 1889

Date: August 29, 1889

Whitman Archive ID: med.00881

Source: The location of this manuscript is unknown. Edwin Haviland Miller derives his transcription from a transcript of the letter published in a catalog of the Anderson Galleries dated October 18, 1923. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 4:368. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Blake Bronson-Bartlett, Caterina Bernardini, Ryan Furlong, and Stephanie Blalock

Aug. 29, '89

Y'rs of yesterday rec'd with picture suggesting piece (illustration in text). Will this do? I shall want proof (wh' don't forget)—the price is $251

Walt Whitman

Henry Mills Alden (1836–1919) was managing editor of Harper's Weekly from 1863 to 1869 and editor of Harper's Monthly Magazine from 1869 until his death.


1. On August 25, 1889, Henry Alden, the editor of Harper's New Monthly Magazine, requested a poem. Whitman sent "Death's Valley," and was paid $25 on September 1, 1889 (The Commonplace-Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). The poem accompanied an engraving of George Inness' "The Valley of the Shadow of Death" (1867); see LeRoy Ireland, The Works of George Inness (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1965), 98–99. When the poem appeared in April 1892, the frontispiece of the magazine was a photograph of Alexander's portrait of Whitman, and above the poem appeared a more recent sketch of the poet by the same artist. A partial facsimile of this manuscript appears in Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Thursday, May 30, 1889. See also "Death's Valley" (loc.00189) in the Integrated Catalog of Walt Whitman's Literary manuscripts[back]


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