Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to James R. Osgood, 4 June 1881

Date: June 4, 1881

Whitman Archive ID: yal.00108

Source: Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. 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.

Contributors to digital file: Stefan Schoeberlein, Nima Najafi Kianfar, Eder Jaramillo, and Nicole Gray

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431 Stevens Street
Camden New Jersey
June 4 '81

My dear Mr Osgood

Yours of yesterday rec'd, which settles the engagement. I shall forward the copy soon. The name will be Walt Whitman's Poems—with the sub-title Leaves of Grass in its place or places inside. I suggest a 400 page book—in size, thickness, general appearance &c: closely like Houghton & Mifflin's 1880 edition of Owen Meredith's Poems, only better paper & print, & at least one size larger type—I think in solid bourgeois (or long primer)—ought to be new type—page the same size as the Owen Meredith (see outline in blue lines on the picture I send) with the same rather narrow margin, which I prefer to wide—in the make up every thing the reverse of free spacing out or free leading—of course not crowding too close either, but with an eye to compacting the matter (for there is quite a good deal to go in the 400 pages)—plain green muslin binding—binding costing say 15 or 16 cts.—no gilt edges—a handsome, stately, plain book

I shall get a new copyright out—Shall probably write to you in London about the English sale1—Can I get a British copyright by going to Canada? If so I will go—How would the enclosed picture do for a frontispiece? I like it—It is made by Gutekunst 712 Arch St Philadelphia—I think he would furnish them at three to four dollars a thousand.2

Walt Whitman

Who of your house shall I specially see & deal with if I should take a notion to come on to Boston in person with the copy—or after the type setting commences?


1. Osgood advised Whitman on June 3 to write to him in care of Trübner & Co., London. [back]

2. Benjamin H. Ticknor, who replied to this letter on June 8, liked the "photo-type": "should be quite inclined to use it, and perhaps also the first, steel, portrait." After noting his letter to Osgood on June 4 in his Commonplace Book, Whitman added: "(mistake about price of lith[ograph] corrected next day)" (Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). [back]


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