Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: [Houghton,] Mifflin & Co., Publishers to Walt Whitman, [11] January 1888

Date: January [11], 1888

Whitman Archive ID: uva.00576

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.

Related item: On the back of this letter, Whitman has drafted a poem titled "The Dead Emperor."

Contributors to digital file: Blake Bronson-Bartlett, Breanna Himschoot, Ian Faith, and Stephanie Blalock

page image
image 1
page image
image 2

[illegible] MIFFLIN & CO., Publishers.
New York Office.
11 E. 17th St.
19 Jany 1888

[illegible]ing a little book [illegible] [illegible]nd book for schools [illegible] Lincoln and celebrating [illegible] [illegible]ill contain the [illegible] [illegible] Russell Lowell1 [illegible] election from [illegible], state papers and lett [illegible] to inclu [illegible] My Cap [illegible] [illegible] permit

Houghton, Mifflin and Co., Publishers were a publishing firm with offices in Boston and at 11 E. 17th St. in New York. They published, among other works, numerous titles that were adopted as textbooks in many schools. This letter appears to be a request from the publisher to Whitman in order to obtain permission for publishing the poet's poem "O Captain! My Captain!" in one or more books, including one for use in schools.


1. James Russell Lowell (1819–1891) was an American critic, poet and editor of The Atlantic. One of Whitman's famous poetic contemporaries, Lowell was committed to conventional poetic form, which was clearly at odds with Whitman's more experimental form. Still, as editor of the Atlantic Monthly, he published Whitman's "Bardic Symbols," probably at Ralph Waldo Emerson's suggestion. Lowell later wrote a tribute to Abraham Lincoln titled "Commemoration Ode," which has often, since its publication, been contrasted with Whitman's own tribute, "O Captain! My Captain!" For further information on Whitman's views of Lowell, see William A. Pannapacker, "Lowell, James Russell (1819–1891)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998) [back]


Published Works | In Whitman's Hand | Life & Letters | Commentary | Resources | Pictures & Sound

Support the Archive | About the Archive

Distributed under a Creative Commons License. Matt Cohen, Ed Folsom, & Kenneth M. Price, editors.