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Walt Whitman to William Sloane Kennedy, 11 August [1886]

 col.00006.001_large.jpg (over) ['86]

I may keep the MS2 a few days longer—two or three—I find upon taking it up to–day, it has a wonderful tenacity—of course a capital sign—I will send a few suggestion–notes—

W W  col.00006.002_large.jpg This card relates to the ms of my 'Walt Whitman, the Poet of Humanity'

William Sloane Kennedy (1850–1929) was on the staff of the Philadelphia American and the Boston Transcript; he also published biographies of Longfellow, Holmes, and Whittier (Dictionary of American Biography [New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1933], 336–337). Apparently Kennedy called on the poet for the first time on November 21, 1880 (William Sloane Kennedy, Reminiscences of Walt Whitman [London: Alexander Gardener, 1896], 1). Though Kennedy was to become a fierce defender of Whitman, in his first published article he admitted reservations about the "coarse indecencies of language" and protested that Whitman's ideal of democracy was "too coarse and crude"; see The Californian, 3 (February 1881), 149–158. For more about Kennedy, see Katherine Reagan, "Kennedy, William Sloane (1850–1929)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


  • 1. This postal card is addressed: Wm Sloane Kennedy | Belmont Mass. It is postmarked: CAMDEN | AUG | 11 | 8 PM | 1886 | N.J.; PHILADELPHIA | AUG | 11 | 9 PM | 1886 | [illegible] [back]
  • 2. Kennedy's manuscript, "Walt Whitman, the Poet of Humanity," eventually became two books, Reminiscences of Walt Whitman (1896) and The Fight of a Book for the World (1926). [back]
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