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Abraham Simpson to Walt Whitman, 3 July 1867

 loc_jc.00011_large.jpg Walt Whitman Esq. Dear Sir

While considering the question of publishing "Leaves of Grass" &c we have consulted with several eminent literary men and they have advised us most strongly not to do it.1

In view of this fact, though we are favorably impressed, as we were when we first wrote you, with the idea, we deem it injudicious to commit ourselves to its publication at the present time.

With the highest regards Yrs very truly A Simpson & Co





JULY 15th 1867.

The Sayings of Dr. Bushwhacker,





Dr. Bushwacker is incomparable; and is destined to be an eminent character in the world of literature. His sayings are admirably adapted for Town or Country reading.

PRICE $1 50.

A Liberal Discount to Booksellers and the Trade. Orders should be addressed promptly to

A. SIMPSON & CO., PUBLISHERS, 60 DUANE ST., N.Y. Sent by Mail, Post Paid, to any Address on receipt of the above price. AGATHYNIAN PRESS.3

Abraham Simpson, while working for J. M. Bradstreet & Son, had supervised the binding of Drum-Taps (see Whitman's May 2, 1865, letter to Peter Eckler). Simpson wrote on May 10, 1867, that he was going into business for himself and was interested in publishing Whitman's next book: "Hearing you are writing another book [I] would like to print and publish it for you and will give you better advantages than any other publishing house . . . . One of my reasons for securing your friendship is my appreciation for you as a man, well knowing your life has been devoted to help along those most in need of your assistance." On May 31, 1867, Simpson informed Whitman that "we have established a Ptng & Publishing House." But, as this letter indicates, A. Simpson & Company had decided against publishing Leaves of Grass (1867).


  • 1. On May 20, 1867, Whitman informed Abraham Simpson that his next publication would not be on a new subject but instead would be a "new & far more perfected edition of Leaves of Grass." [back]
  • 2. With his letter, Simpson enclosed a circular advertising The Sayings of Dr. Bushwhacker, and other learned men by F. S. Cozzens. The circular announced the book's publisher, Messrs. A. Simpson & Co., and the volume's publication date, which was set for July 15, 1867. The circular is referring to a book by Frederic Swartwout (F. S.) Cozzens (1818–1869), a New York humorist and author of The Sayings of Dr. Bushwhacker, and Other Learned Men (sometimes spelled "Bushwacker"), an 1867 collection of essays, Prismatics (written under the pseudonym Richard Haywarde) and The Sparrowgrass Papers, a humorous account of a city man running a country home. Cozzens was also the editor of the Wine Press, a monthly periodical, until the start of the Civil War. [back]
  • 3. In 1866, Dr. William A. Hammond (1828–1900), F. S. Hoffman, and "Abe" Simpson joined with B. W. Bond (of the publishing firm Moorhead, Simpson & Bond) to form the Agathynian Club, which printed both original works and reprints with an interest in typographical innovation. The Club produced periodicals, as well as reprints of rare, curious, and old American, English, French, and Latin books (American Literary Gazette and Publishers Circular [Philadelphia: George W. Childs, Publisher, No. 600 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, July 1, 1867], 9:136). While preparing the Agathynian Club's second volume, a fire destroyed the Bradstreet book-bindery, all 150 copies of the Club's second volume, and by extension the Club itself, which folded in 1868 when Hammond elected to focus on his medical practice. For more information on the Club, see Adolf Growell, "The Agathynian Club (1866–1868)," American Book Clubs: Their Beginnings and History, and a Bibliography of their Publications (New York: Dodd, Mead, and Company, 1897), 145–151. [back]
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