Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Courtland Palmer, 14 January 1888

Date: January 14, 1888

Whitman Archive ID: med.00906

Source: The location of this manuscript is unknown. Edwin Haviland Miller derives his transcription from the manuscript, which was formerly part of a collection that was sold in the 1980s. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961—1977), 4:142. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Ryan Furlong and Stephanie Blalock

Camden New Jersey
Saturday Night1
Jan 14 '88

My best respects & thanks to you, & to the Club—but I am disabled & cannot avail myself of the kind invitation.2

Walt Whitman

Courtlandt (sometimes spelled "Courtland") Palmer (1843–1888) was an attorney and the founder and first president of the Nineteenth Century Club, a group dedicated to discussing significant social and philosophical issues of the time. Palmer was a freethinker as well as a friend of the noted orator Colonel Robert Ingersoll. Upon Palmer's death in 1888, Whitman remarked to his disciple Horace Traubel: "They may bury Palmer—they will bury him and I do not feel like crying over his grave. There's only one word for some graves—hurrah is that word. Hurrah is the word for brave Palmer!" (Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Thursday, July 26, 1888).


1. This letter is addressed: Courtlandt Palmer | 117 East 21st Street | New York City. It is postmarked: Camden, N.J. | Jan. 14 | 8pm | 88; P.O. | 1-15-88 | 2–1A | N.Y. [back]

2. Palmer's invitation to Whitman has not yet been located. [back]


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