Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to David McKay, [6 April 1891?]

Date: [April 6, 1891?]

Whitman Archive ID: upa.00227

Source: . Transcribed from digital images or a microfilm reproduction of the original item. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Related item: Whitman wrote this response to Philadelphia publisher David McKay at the bottom of a letter from McKay dated April 6, 1891. See upa.00128.

Contributors to digital file: Ryan Furlong, Amanda J. Axley, and Stephanie Blalock



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Here1 are the dates of the sending of the big book2 copies, [amount for?] one copy Date missing—before Aug. 13 '90



one copy — Aug: 13 '90
" " Oct. 21 "
" " Dec. 1 "
" " Dec. 24 "
" " Dec. 25 "
" " Feb. 19 '91
" " Feb. 20 "

I don't know but one of the big books above was furn'd by me (as I offer'd) to [go in?] with the 100 sets of sheets. If so you owe me for one only ($ 4)—If not you owe me for two


—W W


Correspondent:
David McKay (1860–1918) took over Philadelphia-based publisher Rees Welsh's bookselling and publishing businesses in 1881–2. McKay and Rees Welsh published the 1881 edition of Leaves of Grass after opposition from the Boston District Attorney prompted James R. Osgood & Company of Boston, the publisher Whitman had originally contracted with for publication of the volume, to withdraw. McKay also went on to publish Specimen Days & Collect, November Boughs, Gems from Walt Whitman, and Complete Prose Works. For more information about McKay, see Joel Myerson, "McKay, David (1860–1918)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).

Notes:

1. Whitman wrote this letter beneath a letter he had received from David McKay dated April 6, 1891. [back]

2. Whitman often referred to Complete Poems & Prose (1888) as his "big book." The volume was published by the poet himself in an arrangement with publisher David McKay, who allowed Whitman to use the plates for both Leaves of Grass and Specimen Days—in December 1888. With the help of Horace Traubel, Whitman made the presswork and binding decisions, and Frederick Oldach bound the volume, which included a profile photo of the poet on the title page. For more information on the book, see Ed Folsom, Whitman Making Books/Books Making Whitman: A Catalog and Commentary. [back]


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