Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Thomas B. Harned, 7 July [1888]

Date: July 7, [1888]

Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00719

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 The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 4:182–183. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Blake Bronson-Bartlett, Ryan Furlong, Ian Faith, and Stephanie Blalock

just after 12
Saturday July 7

Tom, I wish you would say to Frank1 the pictures of Elias Hicks2 and my own bust are entirely satisfactory & I want to see what [I] can do to print them, so as each to illustrate in the Nov.Boughs3—one of each4—Of course some one—the proper person (is it not Phila or N Y?)—will have to print 1000 picts—will have to be done for ab't 3ct each—I am having a bad day—had about a bad night—

—As you said—Bennett5 of NY has sent the check to me back6

Love to you & Mrs H7 & the childer—
Walt Whitman

Thomas Biggs Harned (1851–1921) was one of Whitman's literary executors. Harned was a lawyer in Philadelphia and, having married Augusta Anna Traubel (1856–1914), was Horace Traubel's brother-in-law. For more on him, see Dena Mattausch, "Harned, Thomas Biggs (1851–1921)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). For more on his relationship with Whitman, see Thomas Biggs Harned, Memoirs of Thomas B. Harned, Walt Whitman's Friend and Literary Executor, ed. Peter Van Egmond (Hartford: Transcendental Books, 1972).


1. Francis (Frank) Parkerson Harned (1849–1934) was Tom Harned's brother; he was a chemist and the founder of the Penn Chemical Works. [back]

2. Elias Hicks (1748–1830) was a traveling Quaker preacher and anti-slavery activist from Long Island, New York. Whitman's essay on Hicks, "Notes (such as they are) founded on Elias Hicks," appeared in November Boughs (1888). For more on Hicks, see Henry Watson Wilbur, The Life and Labors of Elias Hicks (Philadelphia: Friends' General Conference Advancement Committee, 1910). [back]

3. Whitman's November Boughs was published in October 1888 by Philadelphia publisher David McKay. For more information on the book, see James E. Barcus Jr., "November Boughs [1888]," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]

4. Frank Harned, who began to photograph the Sidney Morse bust of Whitman around June 8, brought them for Whitman's inspection on July 2 (see Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Friday, June 8, 1888 and Monday, July 2, 1888). Despite what Whitman said in this letter, Traubel reports on Wednesday, July 4, 1888 that "W. has not seemed to like Frank Harned's pictures," and they did not appear in the printed book. [back]

5. James Gordon Bennett Jr. (1841–1918) was the publisher of the New York Herald, which had been founded by his father in 1835. For more on the paper and the many poems by Whitman that were published in it, see Susan Belasco, "The New York Herald." [back]

6. Bennett sent a check for $40 after Whitman stopped sending poems to the newspaper, and refused to accept the check back when the poet returned it (see Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Monday, July 9, 1888 and Wednesday, July 11, 1888). [back]

7. Augusta Anna Traubel Harned (1856–1914) was Horace Traubel's sister. She married Thomas Biggs Harned, a lawyer in Philadelphia and, later, one of Whitman's literary executors. [back]


Published Works | In Whitman's Hand | Life & Letters | Commentary | Resources | Pictures & Sound

Support the Archive | About the Archive

Distributed under a Creative Commons License. Matt Cohen, Ed Folsom, & Kenneth M. Price, editors.