Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Sylvester Baxter, 31 October [1881]

Date: October 31, 1881

Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00433

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), 3:251–252. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Stefan Schoeberlein, Nima Najafi Kianfar, Eder Jaramillo, Nicole Gray, and Elizabeth Lorang

431 Stevens Street Camden New Jersey
Oct 31—p m

Dear Baxter

I have seen your fervid and stirring criticism1—respond with thanks & love—if convenient mail me three or four copies here (see above)—please mail one to E C Stedman 71 West 54th Street New York City—one to Dr R. M. Bucke, London, Ontario, Canada—and one to John Burroughs,2 Esopus-on-Hudson, New York

I write in N Y, but the above is my main address, & I return there forthwith—I keep well as usual—

Walt Whitman

Sylvester Baxter (1850–1927) was on the staff of the Boston Herald. Apparently he met Whitman for the first time when the poet delivered his Lincoln address in Boston in April, 1881; see Rufus A. Coleman, "Whitman and Trowbridge," PMLA 63 (1948), 268. Baxter wrote many newspaper columns in praise of Whitman's writings, and in 1886 attempted to obtain a pension for the poet. For more, see Christopher O. Griffin, "Baxter, Sylvester [1850–1927]," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


1. Interestingly, Whitman praises Baxter for the lengthy review of Leaves of Grass in the Boston Herald on October 30 without acknowledging his own contributions to this review. For discussion of this review, see Kenneth M. Price and Janel Cayer, "'It might be us speaking instead of him!': Individuality, Collaboration and the Networked Forces Contributing to 'Whitman,'" Walt Whitman Quarterly Review 33:2 (2015), 114–124. [back]

2. Burroughs was with Whitman on October 28 and 29 (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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