Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to William Michael Rossetti, 22 August [1876]

Date: August 22, 1876

Whitman Archive ID: tex.00347

Source: The Walt Whitman Collection, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 3:55. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, Ashley Lawson, Zachary King, and Eric Conrad

431 Stevens st—Camden—N Jersey
U S America—
Aug 221

I send you2 to-day the Vol. specified for "Mrs. Mathews, Birmingham"3—As this is too indefinite, I have directed it to your care, to forward to Mrs. M. The other Vols. will be sent by mail to the addresses given—All about as usual—



1. This letter's envelope bears the address: "Wm Michel Rossetti | 56 Euston Square | London N W | England." It is postmarked: "Camden | Aug | 22 | N.J.; London (?)| C 1(?)| Paid | Sp 7 | 76." [back]

2. William Michael Rossetti (1829–1915), brother of Dante Gabriel and Christina Rossetti, was an English editor and a champion of Whitman's work. In 1868, Rossetti edited Whitman's Poems, selected from the 1867 Leaves of Grass. Whitman referred to Rossetti's edition as a "horrible dismemberment of my book" in his August 12, 1871, letter to Frederick S. Ellis. Nonetheless, the edition provided a major boost to Whitman's reputation, and Rossetti would remain a staunch supporter for the rest of Whitman's life, drawing in subscribers to the 1876 Leaves of Grass and fundraising for Whitman in England. For more on Whitman's relationship with Rossetti, see Sherwood Smith, "Rossetti, William Michael (1829–1915)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]

3. Walt Whitman sent a copy of Leaves of Grass (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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