Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Rudolf Schmidt, 24 December 1889

Date: December 24, 1889

Whitman Archive ID: rlc.00020

Source: The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 4:408. 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, Ashlyn Stewart, Breanna Himschoot, and Stephanie Blalock

Camden New Jersey U S America
Dec: 24 '891

Still (after a sort) hold possession of the ship—but my grasp growing fainter & my eyes dimmer—Wish to specially write to thank you for kindness2—Y'r proof just rec'd by Horace Traubel3—To-day a fine sunny day & I have been taken out two hours on a drive—enjoy'd all—the sun most of all—been to a cemetery to select a lot.

Walt Whitman

The Danish writer Peter Carl Rudolf Schmidt (1836–1899) was the editor of the idealist journal For Idé og Virkelighed ("For Idea and Reality") and had translated Whitman's Democratic Vistas into Danish in 1874.


1. This letter is addressed: Rudolph Schmidt | Blaagaardsgade 16 B | Copenhagen N | Denmark. It is postmarked: Camden, N.J. | Dec 24 | 8 PM | 89; London | AM | Ja 2 | 90(?); OMB. 1 | 4-1-90 | (?). [back]

2. Schmidt was quoted in Camden's Compliment to Walt Whitman (Philadelphia: David McKay, 1889), 53–54. The volume, edited by Horace Traubel, collected notes and addresses that were delivered at Whitman's seventieth birthday celebration on May 31, 1889, in Camden, New Jersey. [back]

3. Horace L. Traubel (1858–1919) was an American essayist, poet, and magazine publisher. He is best remembered as the literary executor, biographer, and self-fashioned "spirit child" of Walt Whitman. During the late 1880s and until Whitman's death in 1892, Traubel visited the poet virtually every day and took thorough notes of their conversations, which he later transcribed and published in three large volumes entitled With Walt Whitman in Camden (1906, 1908, & 1914). After his death, Traubel left behind enough manuscripts for six more volumes of the series, the final two of which were published in 1996. For more on Traubel, see Ed Folsom, "Traubel, Horace L. [1858–1919]," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]


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