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Edward W. Bok to Walt Whitman, March 16, 1887

 loc.01087.003_large.jpg Walt Whitman Esq. Dear Sir,

It is the earnest desire of Mr. Beecher's friends that this memorial shall be in every respect of the most representative character, and that this may be the more certain of accomplishment, I beg to solicit your valuable cöoperation.

The memorial will take the form of estimates of Mr. Beecher's character and the great public services rendered by him, and it is hoped to make it  loc.01087.004_large.jpg  loc.01087.005_large.jpg of such a character that it may ever remain a notable record of his life to be referred to in future years by his family and his friends.

From promises and contributions received, the high character of the Memorial is already assured, but we fully recognize the positive advantage it would receive by some tribute from your pen. We are therefore particularly hopeful of a favorable response at your hands, and this we most earnestly solicit.

As it is desired that the memorial be issued at as early a date as possible, may I beg the further favor of as speedy a reply as may be practicable?3

Repeating our sincere hopes for your kind cooperation in this matter.

I am, Sir, Very Respectfully Edward W. Bok.  loc.01087.006_large.jpg  loc.01087.001_large.jpg  loc.01087.002_large.jpg

Eduard Willem Gerard Cesar Hidde Bok (1863–1930), commonly known as Edward Bok, was a Dutch-American author and newspaperman, and he served as editor of the Ladies' Home Journal for thirty years. Like Whitman, Bok had also worked for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.


  • 1. Henry Ward Beecher (1813–1887), Congregational clergyman and brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe, accepted the pastorate of the Plymouth Church, Brooklyn, in 1847. Whitman described him briefly in the Brooklyn Daily Advertiser of May 25, 1850, reprinted in The Uncollected Poetry and Prose of Walt Whitman, 2 vols., ed. Emory Holloway (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, Page, 1921), 1:234–235. See also Walt Whitman, Emory Holloway, and Vernolian Schwarz, I Sit and Look Out: Editorials from the Brooklyn Daily Times (New York: Columbia University Press, 1955), 84–85, and Horace Traubel, ed., With Walt Whitman in Camden, Friday, May 11, 1888. Henry Beecher's father, Lyman Beecher (1775–1863), was also a clergyman, who upon his retirement lived with his son in Brooklyn. [back]
  • 2. This letter is addressed: Walt Whitman, Esq., | Camden | New Jersey. It is postmarked: Brooklyn, N.Y. | Mar 17 | 1030am | 87; Camden [illegible] | Mar | 17 | 8pm | 1887 | Rec'd. Bok has written "Personal" at the top of the front of the envelope. [back]
  • 3. Beecher Memorial: Contemporaneous Tributes to the Memory of Henry Ward Beecher, edited by Bok, was published in 1887; Whitman did not contribute to the volume, and, if he ever replied to Bok, his letter is not extant. [back]
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