Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Robert Underwood Johnson, 29 October 1879

Date: October 29, 1879

Whitman Archive ID: uva.00388

Source: Papers of Walt Whitman (MSS 3829), Clifton Waller Barrett Library of American Literature, Albert H. Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. 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.

Notes for this letter were created by Whitman Archive staff and/or were derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller, 6 vols. (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), and supplemented or updated by Whitman Archive staff.

Editorial note: The annotation, "To | R U Johnson," is in an unknown hand.

Contributors to digital file: Alicia Bones, Grace Thomas, Eder Jaramillo, Kevin McMullen, and Nicole Gray

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2316 Pine street
St Louis
Oct 29 '79

Dear Sir1

Your note has just reached me here, where I am temporarily stopping—I could not well tell you the names of "the young men referred to," because I spoke mainly of a class, or rather of a leaven & spirit—

—My talk to the newspaper here the other day has been extracted from in so dislocated & awry a manner—was printed here indeed so badly—that I enclose you herewith a hastily corrected slip—If you know some N Y paper or literary publication in whose line it might come, & that would like to print it, use it for that purpose, at your discretion—& send me a couple of copies, (to Camden)—If not available that way, let it go—

—I am laid up here disabled. My permanent address is 431 Stevens street Camden, New Jersey—shall return there about Nov 15—

Walt Whitman


1. Robert Underwood Johnson (1853–1937) was on the staff of The Century Magazine from 1873 to 1913, and was U. S. ambassador to Italy in 1920 and 1921. Whitman included in this letter a news release based on an interview printed in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on October 17, in which he criticized William Cullen Bryant, John Greenleaf Whittier, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (reprinted in American Literature, 14 [1942–1943], 144–147). See also Robert Underwood Johnson, Remembered Yesterdays (Boston: Little, Brown, 1923), 336, and Specimen Days, ed. Floyd Stovall (New York: New York University Press, 1963), 167. [back]


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