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Louisa Drewry to Walt Whitman, 20 June 1890

 loc.01439.001_large.jpg books sent July 1 Dear Sir

Will you kindly send me your large 6 dollar edition called "Complete Poems and Prose";2 also "Leaves of Grass. Including Sands at Seventy and Backward glances. Autograph & 6 portraits. Small edition bound in pocket book style.3 5 dollars. 1 copy of each. I enclose an order for £2 8".  loc.01439.002_large.jpg I have seen these editions at Mr H Buxton Forman's.4

Allow me to thank you warmly and gratefully for the great joy and profit your works have brought me.

I am, dear sir

Yours very truly Louisa Drewry (address Miss Drewry.) To Walt Whitman Esq  loc.01439.003_large.jpg

P.S.) I shall be glad to have the books as soon as convenient to you.5


Louisa Drewry (1834–1916) of Middlesex, England, began teaching Greek and Latin classes for women in the early 1860s. She became a founding faculty member of The Working Women's College in 1864. She continued teaching classes for women in literature, composition, and history until approximately 1910, and she had amassed a library of 2,000 books by the time of her death in 1916. She was a member of the Browning Society, a contributor to the English Woman's Journal, and is author of A Simple Method of Grammatical Analysis (London: George Bell & Sons, 1891).


  • 1. See Whitman's July 1, 1890, confirmation letter to Drewry. Harry Buxton Forman mentions Louisa Drewry and her interest in Leaves of Grass in his June 16, 1890, letter to Whitman. [back]
  • 2. Whitman's Complete Poems & Prose (1888), a volume Whitman often referred to as the "big book," was published by the poet himself—in an arrangement with publisher David McKay, who allowed Whitman to use the plates for both Leaves of Grass and Specimen Days—in December 1888. With the help of Horace Traubel, Whitman made the presswork and binding decisions for the volume. Frederick Oldach bound the book, which included a profile photo of the poet on the title page. For more information on the book, see Ed Folsom, Whitman Making Books/Books Making Whitman: A Catalog and Commentary (University of Iowa: Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, 2005). [back]
  • 3. Whitman had a special pocket-book edition printed in honor of his 70th birthday, May 31, 1889, through special arrangement with Frederick Oldach. Only 300 copies were printed, and Whitman signed the title page of each one. The volume also included the annex Sands at Seventy and his essay A Backward Glance O'er Traveled Roads. See Whitman's May 16, 1889, letter to Oldach. For more information on the book see Ed Folsom, Whitman Making Books/Books Making Whitman: A Catalog and Commentary (University of Iowa: Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, 2005). [back]
  • 4. Henry "Harry" Buxton Forman (1842–1917) was a British man-of-letters, an editor of and authority on the works of Keats and Shelley, and, starting in 1887, a conspirator in literary forgeries that were exposed after his death. The correspondence at this time between Bucke and Forman makes it clear that Bucke was also building up Forman's collection of Whitman materials (D. B. Weldon Library, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario). [back]
  • 5. The series of mathematical calculations that have been written after the postscript are Whitman's. [back]
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