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Thayer & Eldridge to Walt Whitman, 27 February 1860

 loc.00561.001.jpg Walt Whitman Dear Sir,

Your letter of the 25th is at hand. We1 are ready to commence on your work at once and have it got up with all possible speed.  The terms which we would propose are 10 percent of the retail price for your copyright. This is the usual allowance to authors, on works of merit. The most important point to be settled at first is the form in which the Poems shall appear. Do you prefer the 18 mo size such as your last volume or will you have it in a 12 mo volume?—or in Two 12 mo volumes, ? How do you like the 32 mo blue & gold style inaugurated by Ticknor & Fields, in which they have published most of the modern English Poets such as Tennyson, etc?2

We invite an early reply on this point, and also say if you accept the terms—10 percent on all copies sold.  ONE of us will be in New York in a week or ten days and will call and see you, but that need not prevent negociations being continued by mail—until we have a personal interview.

Yours Truly Thayer & Eldridge


  • 1. Thayer and Eldridge was a Boston publishing firm responsible for the third edition of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass (1860). For more on Whitman's relationship with Thayer and Eldridge see "Thayer, William Wilde (1829–1896) and Charles W. Eldridge (1837–1903)." [back]
  • 2. By the late 1840s Ticknor and Fields were publishing most of their trade books in a dark brown cloth; beginning in 1856 with Tennyson's The Poetical Works, Ticknor and Fields began to print books in a distinctive "blue and gold" binding. For discussion of Ticknor and Fields's "blue and gold" books see Michael Winship, American Literary Publishing in the Mid-Nineteenth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 94–121. [back]
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