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Walt Whitman to Charles Hine, 9 May 1868

My dear Charles Hine,2

I received with gladness the authentic sign & proof that you are on hand & doing, viz. "Watsons Art Journal"3 with notice &c.—I am anxious to see the picture. I am sure it must be a thing of beauty, glowing, human, & true. Believe me, my friend, I have not forgotten you, nor your old kindness & friendliness. Also Mrs. Hine & the daughter—to whom I send best remembrances.

As soon as I come to New York again, I will visit you at the studio. In the meantime, I send you by same mail as this a copy of my last edition, also a little book, written by Mr. Burroughs,4 (a second Thoreau,) and a newspaper, with letter5—the book & letter all about my precious self—& I dare say may interest you. If the books are not brought by the carrier, you must send to p. o. for them. I have seen Faris6 here, but now he has gone back to N. Y. I am working in the Attorney General's office—have a pleasant berth, moderate pay, but sufficient—

I am well, weight nearly 200, & eat my rations every time. You must write, & let me know whether the books come safe.


  • 1. This draft letter is endorsed, "Chas Hine | sent May 9 '68 | 800 Broadway | N. Y." [back]
  • 2. Charles Hine (1827–1871) did an early oil painting of Walt Whitman, the engraving of which was the frontispiece for the 1860 edition of Leaves of Grass. In 1889 Whitman observed of Hine's portrait: "I don't know but the best of all" (Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden [1906–1996], 4:378). Hine's reply to Whitman's letter is not extant, nor is Whitman's second letter written shortly before June 17, 1868. On June 17, 1868, Hine wrote: "Be assured of the high estimate I place upon your gift, and the glowing thoughts to which you have given utterance. 'Leaves of Grass' forever!…My dear old friend, I love you." Whitman visited Hine shortly before his death, a visit mentioned in Whitman's July 26, 1871, letter to William D. O'Connor and his July 28, 1871, letter to Peter Doyle. [back]
  • 3. In Watson's Art Journal, 9 (April 25, 1868), 11–12, appeared "'Sleep': Painted by Charles Hine." The article described his painting of a female nude, and concluded: "We know no picture of modern date that is in any way comparable with it. It is a work, necessarily sensuous, but utterly devoid of sensuality." [back]
  • 4. Notes on Walt Whitman, As Poet and Person (New York: American News, 1867). [back]
  • 5. Hinton's letter in the Rochester Evening Express. [back]
  • 6. The New York Directory for 1867–1868 listed Henry L. Faris, banker, and John E., broker. [back]
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