Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Henry A. Beers, 20 May 1881

Date: May 20, 1881

Whitman Archive ID: yal.00429

Source: Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 3:225. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

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

May 20 '811

Your pleasant note of 16th rec'd2—glad you wrote—just now I am down in the country temporarily—in the Jersey woods3—am well for me—

Walt Whitman


1. This letter bears the address: Henry A Beers | New Haven | Conn:. It is postmarked: Kirkwood | May | 21(?) | N.J. [back]

2. Beers (1847–1926) was a poet and professor of English literature at Yale. On May 16 he wrote to thank Whitman for quoting his verses in The American on May 14: "To a young writer, uncertain of himself, the slightest notice from an older & distinguished brother in the craft is very precious. . . . because it gives him heart in his work" (The Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). Beers in 1898 termed Whitman "a great sloven" (see William Sloane Kennedy, The Fight of a Book for the World [West Yarmouth, MA: The Stonecroft Press, 1926], 136). Similar reservations appear in his Four Americans (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1919), 85–90. [back]

3. Whitman was at Glendale from May 13 to 26 except for a brief visit to Camden on May 17 (Whitman's Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.); see also Walt Whitman's Diary in Canada, ed. William Sloane Kennedy (Boston: Small, Maynard & Company, 1904), 58–59. [back]


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