Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to William D. O'Connor, 16 March 1883

Date: March 16, 1883

Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00483

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), 3:332–333. 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, Kirsten Clawson, Nima Najafi Kianfar, and Nicole Gray

March 16 '83

My dear friend

Yours of 14th & proofs of 1883 Letter rec'd—All y'r marks will be attended to—the Emerson passages put in as you desire2—the text minutely adhered to—every correction carried out—with the single exception (if you will allow it, as I personally request you will) of restoring the italic non-quoted names of books, &c. The typographical plan was laid out by the Superintendant in the printing office & agreed to by the publisher & myself—I stipulated that your text should be adhered to without the slightest variation—but gave in to the type & technique business, so as to have a certain system & uniformity which those names as printed come under—But it does not involve any material point & I know you will be entirely satisfied when you come to see the Letter and the G[ood] G[ray] P[oet] in the printed book—Also I request you will allow a few certain ¶ breaks in the G G P—not at all affecting the text—but helping the typography & reader—I think most decidedly helping3

The foot note (early part of G G P) is printed I see exactly as in copy—If not the true note, send it on as you wish, & it shall appear verbatim—(we have no fear of scarifying Lowell)4—If the exigencies of the printing office allow I will have a revise sent you—but it is not certain—

Walt Whitman


1. This letter is endorsed: "Answ'd March 17/83." It is addressed: Wm D O'Connor | Care Dr W F Channing | 98 Congdon Street | Providence | Rhode Island | p o box | 393. It is postmarked: Camden | Mar | 16 | 12 M | N.J.; Providence | Mar | 17 | 6 AM | R.I. [back]

2. On March 14, O'Connor requested that Emerson's letter be printed in entirety in Richard Maurice Bucke's Walt Whitman (Philadelphia: David McKay, 1883) (see Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Saturday, March 23, 1889). [back]

3. On March 17 O'Connor vehemently opposed any alterations in his paragraphs (see Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Friday, March 15, 1889 , 354–355). [back]

4. O'Connor wanted printed exactly the footnote which alluded, without mentioning Lowell by name, to a Cambridge author who had termed Whitman "nothing but a low New York rowdy," "a common street blackguard" (Richard Maurice Bucke, Walt Whitman [Philadelphia: David McKay, 1883], 100n). [back]


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