Skip to main content

Walt Whitman to Executive Committee Contemporary Club, 15 February 1888

 loc.01311.001_large.jpg To Executive Committee Contemporary Club:

I propose the name of Thomas B Harned,2 Counsellor at Law, of this city, for membership in the club.

Walt Whitman  loc.01311.002_large.jpg

The Contemporary Club was a Philadelphia literary circle established in 1886 by the essayist Agnes Repplier. In 1887, Whitman gave a reading of "The Mystic Trumpeter" and "A Voice from the Sea" at the club.


  • 1. This letter is composed of a thinner material than Whitman normally writes on during this period. Thus, the ink on the recto seeps through to the verso side. [back]
  • 2. Thomas Biggs Harned (1851–1921) was one of Whitman's literary executors. Harned was a lawyer in Philadelphia and, having married Augusta Anna Traubel (1856–1914), was Horace Traubel's brother-in-law. For more on him, see Dena Mattausch, "Harned, Thomas Biggs (1851–1921)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). For more on his relationship with Whitman, see Thomas Biggs Harned, Memoirs of Thomas B. Harned, Walt Whitman's Friend and Literary Executor, ed. Peter Van Egmond (Hartford: Transcendental Books, 1972). [back]
Back to top