Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to the Librarian of Congress, 30 July 1884

Date: July 30, 1884

Whitman Archive ID: upa.00215

Source: Walt Whitman Collection, 1842–1957, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, University of Pennsylvania. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 3:373. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Editorial note: The annotation, "Copy of | letter sent Librarian of Congress | July 30 1884 | renewal granted & | rec'd by me.," is in the hand of Walt Whitman.

Contributors to digital file: Stefan Schöberlein and Kyle Barton

328 Mickle street1
Camden New Jersey
July 30 '84

Dear Sir

Please give me, (as under Section 6 of your Copyright Directions of 1882), the 14 years renewal of my copyright to the edition of Leaves of Grass granted Sept 11, 1856—Printed title page herewith enclosed—Please send me a certificate of such renewal—One dollar herewith enclosed.

Respectfully &c
Walt Whitman

Ainsworth Rand Spofford (1825–1908) was Librarian of Congress from 1864 to 1897. In 1870, Spofford oversaw the transferral of American copyright records to the Library of Congress, also stipulating that two copies of every publication registered for copyright would be housed at the Library of Congress. Whitman suspected that Spofford did not care for the poet or his work; he told Horace Traubel that the librarian "has no use for me" and "suspects my work, sees no excuse for it" (Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Saturday, May 5, 1888).


1. This is a draft letter. [back]


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