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Dr. Ferdinand Seeger to Walt Whitman, 15 April 1876

 loc.01917.005_large.jpg My dear sir

Please find enclosed my check for $5.—for a copy of "Leaves of Grass."1 A little later on I shall also subscribe for "Two Rivulets";2 but for the present content myself with the first named. My delay is because of my intention to canvas​ my friends and secure additional subscribers and then remit to you in a body.


I am connected with the Portchester Journal3 which circulates between 6 & 7000 copies. I mean to write an article of a couple of columns regarding yourself and your poems and shall close it by soliciting subscribers for your edition. Will you do me the favor of sending me a biographical sketch (to be used in the article) of your self and a spare photograph the latter to be used in illustration. Finally in soliciting the subscriptions shall we request parties to communicate direct with you or shall the 2'e receive & forward them. I sincerely trust that your health is improving & that you may yet enjoy its reestablishment

Yours Very Truly F. Seeger

Dr. Ferdinand Seeger (1846–1923) was a homeopathic physician from New York City, who once refused the Democratic nomination for mayor in order to focus on his medical practice, where he treated both wealthy and destitute patients (see his obituary as printed in the March 10, 1923, edition of Time). Seeger sent a check for $5 on April 18, 1876, and Whitman forwarded two volumes on April 21, 1876 (Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.).


  • 1. During America's centennial celebration in 1876, Whitman reissued the fifth edition of Leaves of Grass in the repackaged form of a "Centennial Edition" and "Author's Edition," with most copies personally signed by the poet. For more information, see Frances E. Keuling-Stout, "Leaves of Grass, 1876, Author's Edition," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]
  • 2. Published as a "companion volume" to the 1876 Author's edition of Leaves of Grass, Two Rivulets consisted of an "intertwining of the author's characteristic verse, alternated throughout with prose," as one critic from the The New York Daily Tribune wrote on February 19, 1876 (4). For more information on Two Rivulets, see Frances E. Keuling-Stout, "Two Rivulets, Author's Edition [1876]" and "Preface to Two Rivulets [1876]," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]
  • 3. The Port Chester (1876–1911) was an independent weekly newspaper based in Westchester County, New York. Its motto was "With malice toward none: With charity for all." [back]
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