Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Charles A. Burkhardt to Walt Whitman, 21 July 1890

Date: July 21, 1890

Whitman Archive ID: yal.00464

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.

Related item: On the back of this letter, Whitman pasted a page with a printed list of names, and he used the blank versos of both pages to draft parts of his essay "An Old Man's Rejoinder."

Contributors to digital file: Kirby Little, Ian Faith, Breanna Himschoot, Stephanie Blalock, and Jason McCormick

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July 21st 1890

Mr. Walt Whitman
Dear Sir

I am very anxious to secure your autograph to insert in a copy of Half Hours with Best American Authors.1

May I ask if you will kindly send it? I enclose a stamped envelope

Yours respectfully
Chas. A. Burkhardt

55 Noble Street
N. J.

Charles A. Burkhardt (1857–?) helped to organize, and was a trustee of, the Booksellers and Stationers' Provident Association of the United States. He organized, and served as president of, the Booksellers' League of the United States. He was also chaplain and orator of Damon Council No. 1198. In 1877 he married Amelia Burkhardt and the two had eleven children (Lockwood, Howard, The American Stationer, Volume 42 [New York: American Stationer, 1897]).


1. Half–Hours with the Best American Authors was published in four volumes by Charles Morris. Volume Two of this series, published in 1891, includes Whitman's "Song of the Redwood–Tree" and was preceded by a scathing review of Whitman which states, in part, "We can only say of Walt Whitman's poetry that it is never likely to become popular. Its lack of rhyme and rhythm reduces it to the form of prose, above which its poetical power seldom elevates it" (Charles Morris, Half–Hours with the Best American Authors. [Philadelphia: J. B. Lippencott Company, 1891], 489). [back]


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