Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to George C. Cox, 15 September 1887

Date: September 15, 1887

Whitman Archive ID: nym.00001

Source: The Museum of the City of New York. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 4:123. 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, Stephanie Blalock, and Amanda J. Axley

328 Mickle Street
Camden New Jersey1
Sept 15 '87—Even'g—

The package of Photos. came this afternoon. I will sign & return them to-morrow or next day—All the propositions of Mr Carey2 & yourself are satisfactory3

Walt Whitman

George Collins "G. C." Cox (1851–1903) was a well-known celebrity photographer who had taken photographs of Whitman when the poet was in New York to give his lecture on Abraham Lincoln (his Lincoln lecture) in April 1887. "The Laughing Philosopher," one of the most famous photographs of Whitman, was taken by Cox in 1887.


1. This letter is addressed: G C Cox | Photographer | Broadway & 12th Street | New York City. It is postmarked: Camden, N.J. | Sep 15 | 8 PM | 8 PM | 87; P.O. | 9-16 87 | 2 A | N.Y. [back]

2. William Carey (1858–1901) worked for many years in a mission school for young men, and he was employed in the Editorial Department of The Century Magazine (William H. McElroy, "The Late William Carey," The New York Times [November 2, 1901], 27). [back]

3. George Cox proposed selling signed copies of his photographs of Walt Whitman. However, when the September 1887 issue of Century appeared with an advertisement, Whitman still had not seen proofs, much less signed the photographs. He wrote John H. Johnston on September 1, 1887, "He advertises . . . to sell my photo, with autograph. The latter is forged, & the former illegal & unauthorized." The disagreement was quickly resolved, and Whitman signed photographs for Cox and returned them. [back]


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