Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Francis P. Church and William C. Church, 3 March 1868

Date: March 3, 1868

Whitman Archive ID: prc.00019

Source: Private collection of Mrs. Donald E. Kidd. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 2:21. 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

March 3, 1868.

Messrs. Church.1
Dear Sirs:

I sent you "Personalism"2—which I suppose you received Monday last. I should consider it a favor from you to have the piece set up as soon as convenient, first proof carefully read & corrected, & then three sets of proofs taken & mailed me here—One set I will read, and return immediately.

I think of offering the article in England,3 probably to the Fortnightly Review—but of course any thing over there must be strictly subordinated to the appearance of the article here first—that is positive.

Can you let me have the proofs within a week or so?

I think of asking you $100 for "Personalism." I reserve the right of printing it in future book.

How about the little piece "Ethiopia Commenting"?4 Will it not be practicable for you to print it in the April number? Certain poetical pieces of mine were arranged to appear soon in English magazine5 & I should like the "Ethiopia" to precede them.

Walt Whitman


1. William Conant Church (1836–1917), journalist and publisher, was a correspondent for several New York newspapers until he founded the Army and Navy Journal in 1863. With his brother Francis Pharcellus (1839–1906), he established the Galaxy in 1866. Financial control of the Galaxy passed to Sheldon and Company in 1868, and it was absorbed by the Atlantic Monthly in 1878. William published a biography of his life-long friend Ulysses S. Grant in 1897, and Francis wrote for the New York Sun the unsigned piece "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus." See Edward F. Grier, "Walt Whitman, the Galaxy, and Democratic Vistas," American Literature, 23 (1951–1952), 332–350; Donald N. Bigelow, William Conant Church & "The Army and Navy Journal" (New York: Columbia University Press, 1952); J. R. Pearson, Jr., "Story of a Magazine: New York's Galaxy, 1866–1878," Bulletin of the New York Public Library, 61 (1957), 217–237, 281–302. [back]

2. Walt Whitman first solicited "Personalism" in his February 21, 1868 letter to the Churches, citing it as a sequel of sorts to "Democracy." [back]

3. Walt Whitman did send "Personalism" to Moncure D. Conway in his March 18, 1868, letter. Conway later wrote that attempts to market the piece in England proved unsuccessful. [back]

4. This poem, sent by Walt Whitman with his September 7, 1867 letter to the Churches, was never published in the Galaxy. It later became "Ethiopia Saluting the Colors"; see Edward F. Grier, "Walt Whitman, the Galaxy, and Democratic Vistas," American Literature, 23 (1951–1952), 337. Walt Whitman withdrew the poem in his November 2, 1868 letter to Francis P. Church. [back]

5. Walt Whitman overstated; only "Whispers of Heavenly Death" had been accepted for publication in England. [back]


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