Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to James R. Osgood & Company, 21 March 1882

Date: March 21, 1882

Whitman Archive ID: tex.00439

Source: T. E. Hanley Collection, Harry Ransom 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), 3:268–270. 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, Nima Najafi Kianfar, Eder Jaramillo, Nicole Gray, and Kirsten Clawson

Camden New Jersey
March 21 '82

Dear Sirs

Yours of 20th rec'd, ab't Dr Bucke's book. I know something about it, & do not object. Dr B. has spent considerable on the illustrations (I have seen them, they are quite creditable) has gathered a variety of biographical information—criticises my poems from an almost passionately friendly point of view (as scientist, student of poetry, medical doctor &c)—& has included what as time goes on may prove a curiously valuable collection of cumulative opinions on L of G. from 1856 to the present day—& I should say it would be a safe publication-enterprise—but you must of course judge & decide for yourselves1

Another thing I must broach—hoping you are not alarmed at the District Attorney episode, (as I am not at all,) but see your way clear to continue on in earnest—

I have about got into shape a volume (It at least will not be liable to any District Att'y episodes—) comprising all my prose writings to be called (probably)

Specimen Days
& Thoughts
by Walt Whitman

to be about same size as L of G. This little Dist. Att'y flurry blowing over, & we getting things into good shape—(as of course I suppose it surely will, & we will)—would you bring it out say late this summer, same terms as L of G? In that case there would be three Volumes gyrating together, the L of G—the S D & T—and Dr Bucke's book—

Upon the whole, & as my friend seems determined to bring out his book, I hope you will take it. I know Dr Bucke well, & have for some years—He is a perfectly honorable, reliable solid man to deal with—a linguist, well conversant with the best German, French & British poetry—of English stock & birth, but grown up in Canada and the California regions of America, & combining in my opinion the best traits of both nationalities. He is now & has been for some years, (in fact he built up & organized it) at the head of the largest & most complete & modernized Asylum for the Insane in America—(one of the largest in the world—1000 persons under his charge)—near London, Ontario, Canada—Though enthusiastic he has a careful eye to practical & business responsibilities—has a fine very large family of children—his social, professional, citizen &c reputation, all first class in Canada.

Walt Whitman

My last three letters to you have been

One of March 8 (or 7)
"                " 19
& the present one

find Dr Bucke's letter to you herewith returned encl'd—


1. On March 20, Osgood & Co. wrote about Bucke's biography: "We do not know whether the book would appeal to us commercially but we of course prefer not to look at it without first being sure that it meets your approval." [back]


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