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Walt Whitman to Rudolf Schmidt, 2 February 1872

Dear Mr. Rudolf Schmidt:2

Your note of Jan.​ 5, acknowledging receipt of "papers," & enclosing to me your photograph,3 is just received. I like your photograph & thank you for it—& I like indeed the good frank way of sending such pictures, where interested & curious. I wish to know whether you have safely received the particular copy of the last edition of my poems, in One Vol., with some sheet photos. enclosed, which I sent you by Mr. Clausen.4 Mr. C. tells me that he put up the various matter I furnished in three parcels—if you have got the three it is all right.

I mailed you a letter of some length, Jan.​ 16. I shall send you, probably by next mail, my latest piece, in a western magazine for February.5 Also a second copy of my pamphlet "Democratic Vistas"—If the first copy reached you, send the second to Mr. Bjornson6—if not, not. Yes, I am sure I should like your friend Bjornson much.

I am going next week to New York to stay there till April 10—my address there will be 107 north Portland av. Brooklyn, New York, U. S. America—about April 10, I shall return here again, & my address will be7

I am writing this at my desk—as above, Treasury Building, middle of afternoon—From my great south window I can see a far-stretching & noble view, many, many miles of open ground, the Potomac river, the hilly banks, the mountains of Virginia &c. We are having a severe cold spell. Every thing is white with snow, but the sun has been clear & dazzling all day—The hour of office-closing is nigh. And I too must close. I have much pleasure in writing to you, & expecting yours.8



  • 1. This draft letter is endorsed, "To Rudolf Schmidt." [back]
  • 2. Rudolf Schmidt, editor of For Idé og Virkelighed, wrote to Walt Whitman on October 19, 1871: I intend to write an article about yourself and your writings in the above named periodical which is very much read in all the Scandinavian countries.…I therefore take the liberty to ask you, if you should not be willing to afford some new communications of yourself and your poetry to this purpose" (Library of Congress). [back]
  • 3. The photograph, inscribed "To Walt Whitman | the poet of the american democracy," is in the Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.; Schmidt's January 5, 1872 letter is in the Syracuse University Library. [back]
  • 4. Carl F. Clausen, termed in Schmidt's letter "my old friend and countryman," corresponded with Schmidt after he left Denmark in 1860; see Orbis Litterarum, 7 (1949), 34–39. The Directory in 1870 listed him as a draughtsman and in 1872 as a patent agent. He died of consumption in the middle 1870s. [back]
  • 5. Whitman refers here to the "The Mystic Trumpeter." [back]
  • 6. Björnstjerne Björnson (1832–1910), Norwegian poet, dramatist, and novelist, was co-editor of Schmidt's journal. In his January 5, 1872 letter Schmidt observed: "Hans Christian Andersen would perhaps not make you very great joy, if you did know him personally. Björnson would be your man." Schmidt later altered his opinion of Björnson; see notes to Whitman's March 19, 1874 letter to Schmidt. [back]
  • 7. Whitman's Washington address was to have been inserted here. [back]
  • 8. On February 27, 1872, Schmidt acknowledged receipt of the various books and articles. [back]
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