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C. H. Browning to Walt Whitman, 15 August 1888

 loc.01093.001_large.jpg Dear Mr. Whitman:—

Wont you read over carefully Amelia Rives'1 poem in today's Herald and give me an expert's opinion on it for publication in the Herald? I will call for this tomorrow, for I am sure you will have something instructive to say about the poem.2

Very truly yours, C.H. Browning  loc.01093.002_large.jpg

C. H. Browning worked in the Philadelphia office of the New York Herald, and he later worked in the same capacity for the New York World. Whitman described Browning as "a fine, dark-browed, vital, affectionate sort of a man—a newspaper man made of the real stuff" (Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Sunday, August 12, 1888). Browning convinced Whitman to write "A Voice from the Death," a poem on the Johnstown flood that was printed in the World on June 7, 1889.


  • 1. Amélie Rives (1863–1945) was an American novelist, poet, and playwright, whose 1888 novel The Quick or the Dead sold 300,000 copies and created a scandal because of its erotic subject matter. Her personal life was also a sensation; she had an unhappy marriage to John Armstrong Chanler, the grandson of John Jacob Astor, and later to Prince Pierre Troubetzkoy of the well-known aristocratic Russian family. For more on Rives, see Francis Verzelius Newton Painter, Poets of Virginia (Richmond: B. F. Johnson Publishing Company, 1907). [back]
  • 2. Whitman was angry at having been asked to provide commentary on work by a poet with whom he was not familiar. For his full reaction to the letter, see Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Thursday, August 16, 1888. [back]
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