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Abraham Simpson & Co. to Walt Whitman, 1 August 1867


Your attention is respectfully called to the annexed specimen page of a volume to be entitled:


The collection will, probably, exceed one hundred in number, of which the music accompanies the words, besides some words without music, and some music without words. It is based primarily on the collections of Prof. Wm. F. Allen,2 Charles P. Ware3 and Miss Lucy McKim,4 but consists also of contributions from the best sources in all parts of the South. Among the States represented are South Carolina (very extensively), Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Arkansas, Missouri, and the Mississippi River. A preface by Prof. Allen, will give the most interesting facts connected with the songs, together with some account of the Sea Island dialect. The whole will be comprised in an octavo volume of about 150 pages, printed in the most handsome manner and substantially bound.

A book of this description, unique, valuable for preserving, what, under the new regime at the South, it is daily becoming more difficult to secure, and attractive to all lovers of music by reason of the beautiful melodies which it embalms, would seem to be entitled to a wide circulation, and as such is hereby recommended to you.

The publishers, being desirous of ascertaining in advance how large an edition it will be necessary to print, take this mode of soliciting an order from you.

Respectfully, A. SIMPSON & CO.5
 loc_jc.00034_large.jpg  loc_jc.00035_large.jpg  loc_jc.00036_large.jpg

To the foregoing may be added the following sketch of the proposed arrangement of the songs:



  • The Coffin's Point Collection,
  • The Cap'n John Fripp Collection,
  • Col. Higginson's Regiment,6
  • Mrs. A. M. Bowen's Collection, (the earliest of all,)
  • The Florida and Miscellaneous Collections.
The above embraces the Sea Islands, and the Main from Charleston to the Gulf, nearly a hundred songs in all.

  • North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware.

  • Nashville, and the Mississippi River.


As will be observed, under the first division, the editors are fortunate in being able to include most of the "Spirituals" printed by Col. T. W. HIGGINSON in the June Atlantic. They were most kindly made over to the present collection by the compiler, and by the publishers Messrs. TICKNOR and FIELDS.

The truly musical, the lovers of the curious, the students of language, the friends of the colored race in America, of course will have an interest in a work of this character; but it has also very high claims as a contribution to history, and as a record of religious feeling which would be remarkable in any age.


 Edited by  

The Publishers, announce with much satisfaction that the first very large impression of the QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF PSYCHOLOGICAL MEDICINE AND MEDICAL JURISPRUDENCE, is entirely exhausted, and that they are about going to press with a second large edition.

Intending Subscribers are therefore requested to forward their names immediately.

Each number consists of at least 160 pages, printed in the highest style of art, and appropriately illustrated.

  • The Contents embrace:

  • 1.—Original articles on the Physiology and Pathology of the Mind and Nervous System, and on Questions of Medical Jurisprudence.
  • 2.—Selections and Translations of Memoirs from Foreign Journals.
  • 3.—Reviews and Bibliographical Notices.
  • 4.—Chronicle of the Physiology and Pathology of the Mind and Nervous System, and of Medical Jurisprudence.

CONTENTS OF No. 1.—July, 1867.

  • Original Articles.

  • On Instinct:its Nature and Seat.—By Dr. HAMMOND.
  • Marlin, and his Influence on the English Character and Literature.—By Dr. HAMMOND.
  • On Organic Infantile Paralysis, (with 9 Illustrations).—by Dr. HAMMOND.
  • Selections and Translations.

  • Aberrations of the Sexual Instinct.
  • Locomotor Ataxia.
  • On the Treatment of a Certain Class of Destructive Patients.
  • Nightmare in Children.
  • Reviews, and Bibliographical Notices.

  • Ancient Punishments in France (with an Illustration).
  • Idiocy and its Treatment.
  • Insane Asylums in France.
  • Chronicle.

  • The Johnson Will Case.
  • The Queen vs. Jane May.
  • Ergot in Diseases of the Spinal Cord.
  • Decapitation.

It will be the aim of the Editor to render the QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF PSYCHOLOGICAL MEDICINE AND MEDICAL JURISPRUDENCE not only valuable to the Medical, but also to the Legal Profession, and of interest to Literary and Scientific persons generally.

The subscription price to FIVE DOLLARS per annum, in advance; Single Copies $1.50.

The second number will be issued October 1st, and will be especially interesting.


The undersigned incloses FIVE DOLLARS for One Year's Subscription to the Quarterly Journal of Psychological Medicine and Medical Jurisprudence, beginning with July, 1867.

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NOTE.—Fill up the above blank, and return with inclosure FIVE DOLLARS, to Messrs. A. SIMPSON & Co., Publishers No. 60 Duane Street, New York.

Agathynian Press,8 (A. SIMPSON & Co.,) 60 Duane St., N. Y.

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, in his July 3, 1867, letter, he advised Whitman that after consultation "with several eminent literary men . . . though we are favorably impressed, . . . we deem it injudicious to commit ourselves to its publication at the present time."


  • 1. Slave Songs of the United States, ed. William Francis Allen; Ware, Charles Pickard; Garrison, Lucy McKim, (1867) was the earliest and most significant collection of African American music. [back]
  • 2. William Francis Allen (1830–1889) was an American classical scholar and one of the editors of the first book of American slave songs, Slave Songs of the United States. During the Civil War, between 1863 and 1864, William and his wife Mary ran a school for newly emancipated slaves on the Sea Islands of South Carolina. [back]
  • 3. Charles Pickard Ware (1849–1921) was an American educator and music transcriber. Ware was an abolitionist who worked as a civilian administrator in the Union Army, where he was a labor superintendent of freedmen on plantations at Port Royal, South Carolina during the Civil War. While on Seaside Plantation, he transcribed many slave songs with tunes and lyrics, which he later published in Slave Songs of the United States. [back]
  • 4. Lucy McKim Garrison (1842–1877) was an American song collector and co-editor of Slave Songs of the United States. During the Civil War in 1862, Garrison traveled with her father to South Carolina, investigating conditions of recently freed slaves. [back]
  • 5. The following two pages are enclosed sheet music for the songs "Poor Rosy," "I'm Gwine to Alabamy (Mississippi River Boat Song)," "Little Children, Then Won't You Be Glad? (Arkansas)," and "Bell Da Ring." [back]
  • 6. Col. Thomas Wentworth Higginson (1823–1911) was a Unitarian minister, a prolific author, a militant abolitionist, a women's rights advocate, and, in the Civil War, the officer in charge of the first federally authorized black regiment. In 1862, he published a "Letter to a Young Contributor" in the Atlantic Monthly that inspired Emily Dickinson to write to him and ask for his opinion of her poems, leading to a decades-long correspondence; he helped edit the first book of her poems. For more information on Higginson and Whitman, see Edward W. Harris, "Higginson, Thomas Wentworth (1823–1911)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]
  • 7. Dr. William A. Hammond (1828–1900), one of the founders of the Agathynian Club. [back]
  • 8. Under the direction of Messrs. Simpson & Co., The Agathynian Club was a publishing house at No. 60 Duane Street, New York, which produced periodicals and 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). [back]
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