Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to William D. O'Connor, [1867?]

Date: 1867?

Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00276

Source: The Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature, New York Public Library. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 1:356. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Kenneth M. Price, Elizabeth Lorang, Zachary King, and Eric Conrad

Attorney General's Office,


The "Citizen" has the Carol1 complete, & exactly reprinted. Get a copy or two, before they are gone—& tell Burroughs also.



1. No copies of the Citizen are extant before July 10, 1869; it is not known precisely when "A Carol of Harvest for 1867" was reprinted. (William Livingston Alden, associate editor of the New York Citizen, wrote to Whitman on August 9, August 19, and November 18, 1867. Whitman also corresponded with Alden on August 27, 1868, in reference to another piece.)

"A Carol of Harvest for 1867," first appeared in the Galaxy. On August 1, 1867, William Conant Church, from the office of the Galaxy, wrote to O'Connor: "It seems to me that this glorious harvest of 1867, sown & reaped by the returned soldiers, ought to be sung in verse.…Walt Whitman is the man to chaunt the song. Will you not ask him to do it for The Galaxy?" (Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). The editors, in a letter to Walt Whitman on August 8, 1867, considered "A Carol of Harvest, for 1867" (later titled "The Return of the Heroes") "to rank with the very best of your poems." For images and a transcription of "A Carol of Harvest, for 1867" as it appeared in the September 1867 edition of the Galaxy, see "A Carol of Harvest, for 1867"[back]

2. There are extant no letters from Walt Whitman to his family for the latter part of the year, though, as "A Check list of Whitman's Letters" makes clear, he wrote frequently. There were no startling developments. While Jeff was in St. Louis, Martha lived with Louisa Van Velsor Whitman, and her children ("the young fry department," as Walt Whitman's mother termed them on December 15, 1867) continued to annoy their grandmother. George spent some time in Philadelphia in November on a job that Moses Lane evidently had obtained for him; for Lane, see Whitman's January 16, 1863 letter to Thomas Jefferson Whitman. Jeff returned to Brooklyn in December, and, on December 26, 1867, Louisa Van Velsor Whitman reported that Jeff was taking his family to St. Louis. [back]


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