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Whitelaw Reid to Walt Whitman, 10 July 1876

 loc.01859.002_large.jpg see notes Aug​ 26 & 28 1888 Dear Whitman:

I was out of town—returning from the West from the funeral of a near relative—when your note of the 7th1 came. We shall try to publish the poem2 on Monday, and if we get in shall hope to enclose herewith cheque for the amount. If it doesn't come with this it will be because of my being compelled to go down to Washington as a witness in the Impeachment trial.3 If by reason of my absence it should be overlooked, pray remind me of it.

Very Truly Yours, Whitelaw Reid Walt Whitman, Esq 431 Stevens St.​ Camden N. J.  loc.01859.003_large.jpg

Whitelaw Reid (1837–1912) was the editor of the New York Tribune from 1872 to 1905 and also American ambassador to France (1889–1892) and England (1905–1912). He met Whitman in the hospitals during the Civil War. Of his relations with the poet, Reid later observed: "No one could fail then [during the War] to admire his zeal and devotion, and I am afraid that at first my regard was for his character rather than his poetry. It was not till long after 'The Leaves of Grass' period that his great verses on the death of Lincoln conquered me completely." See Charles N. Elliot, Walt Whitman as Man, Poet and Friend (Boston: Richard G. Badger, 1915), 213, and Edwin Haviland Miller, "Walt Whitman's Correspondence with Whitelaw Reid, Editor of the New York Tribune," Studies in Bibliography 8 (1956): 242–249.


  • 1. See Whitman's letter to Reid of July 7, 1876. [back]
  • 2. "A Death-Sonnet for Custer" (later entitled "From Far Dakota's Cañons") appeared in the New York Daily Tribune on July 10, 1876. [back]
  • 3. Reid is referring to the impeachment trial of Secretary of War William Belknap. Belknap was acquitted on August 1, 1876. [back]
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