Skip to main content

Abraham Simpson to Walt Whitman, 19 August 1867


and in connection therewith the AGATHYNIAN PRESS.2

They purpose devoting their energies to the printing and publication of useful and valuable books, which will be produced in the highest style of the Typographical Art.

MR. SIMPSON, of this firm, has been the superintendent of the Bradstreet Press3 from its organization to the present time, and will have the immediate charge of the Typographical Department of the house.

Special attention will be given to the publication of Medical and other Scientific Books, though, at the same time, all the higher branches of literature will be included.

The attention of American authors is respectfully invited to the facilities which Messrs. A. SIMPSON & Co. possess for bringing their works prominently before the public in a beautiful and artistic form.

Being Printers and Publishers for several Printing Clubs, and having a large assortment of type of old and modern styles, they will be enabled to undertake the reprint of old books in fac-simile.

MESSRS. A. SIMPSON & Co. are publishers of the following periodicals:

  • I.—The NEW YORK MEDICAL JOURNAL. A monthly record of medicine, and the Collateral Sciences. Edited by William A. Hammond, M.D., and E. S. Dunster, M.D.4 Subscription, $5,00 per annum.
  • II.—The QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF PSYCHOLOGICAL MEDICINE AND MEDICAL JURISPRUDENCE. Edited by William A. Hammond, M.D. Subscription, $5,00 per annum.
  •  loc_jc.00026_large.jpg
  • III.—The Philobiblion. A Bibliographical Journal, containing critical notices of, and extracts from, rare, curious and valuable old Books. Edited by George P. Philes.5 This Journal will be revived in October next. Subscription, $5,00 per annum.
  • IV.—The Publications of the AGATHYNIAN CLUB. Of these, one volume has appeared—the ADVICE TO THE OFFICERS OF THE BRITISH ARMY;6 and the second, The Proverbs of Erasmus,7 edited by George P. Philes, is nearly ready. The third issue, the Works of the famous Antiquary, Polydore Vergil,8 will be ready October 1st, 1867, and will be printed at the Agathynian Press. Subscription, $5,00; 120 copies only will be printed, of which 100 will be for sale. No pains or expense will be spared to make those publications superior to the first, which obtained such favorable commendations from the lovers of beautiful typography.
  • V.—The Publications of the DALIAN CLUB. 125 copies only printed. The form is small quarto, the typography of the very highest excellence. The first issue will be ready September 1st.


Messrs. A. SIMPSON & Co. respectfully announce for early publication, the following works by Foreign and American Authors:


  • I.

  • METEORS, AËROLITES, AND FALLING STARS. By T. L. Phipson,9 Doctor of Science, etc.
  • An admirable little work, written in simple language, and treating of a most interesting department of science.
  • II.

  • GEOLOGY FOR GENERAL READERS. A series of Popular Sketches in Geology and Palæontology. By David Page,10 F.R.S.E., etc.
  • In this work the author has endeavored to produce a treatise which every intelligent person can understand. It should find a place in every library, large and small.
  • III.

  • POPULAR LECTURES ON FOOD. By E. Lankester,11 M.D., F.R.S., etc.
  • IV.

  • Both the above works are exceedingly interesting and instructive, and are freely illustrated.
  • V.

  • THE REASONING POWER IN ANIMALS. By the Rev. John Selby Watson.12
  • VI.

  • PHYSIOLOGY AT THE FARM, IN AID OF REARING AND FEEDING THE LIVE STOCK. By William Seller, M.D.,13 etc., and Henry Stephens.14 A book for every Farmer and Rearer of Cattle.


  • I.

  • BELLEVUE AND CHARITY HOSPITAL REPORTS. A collection of monographs by Physicians and Surgeons of these great hospitals, and by other medical gentlemen of eminence, similar in general scope to Guy's Hospital and other English Hospital Reports, to be published on the 1st of January of each year. The first volume is now in preparation, and will be published January 1st, 1868. Subscriptions will be received by the undersigned. Price to subscribers, $5,00; to all others, $6,00. A limited edition only will be printed.
  • II.

  • A MANUAL OF MINOR SURGERY AND SURGICAL DRESSINGS. By James L. Little, M.D., Lecturer on Operative Surgery and Surgical Dressings in the College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York. (In preparation.)
  • III.

  • IV.

  • LIGHT; ITS INFLUENCE ON LIFE AND HEALTH. By Forbes Winslow, M.D. (In press.)
  • V.

  • A TREATISE ON MELANCHOLY. From the French of Dr. E. Du Vivier.


  • I.

  • POEMS By F. S. Cozzens,16 author of the "Sparrowgrass Papers," etc. (In preparation.)
  • II.

  • THE SAYINGS OF DR. BUSHWHACKER, AND OTHER LEARNED MEN; By F. S. Cozzens, (author of the Sparrowgrass Papers) et al. (In press.)
  • III.

  • POEMS FROM THE PORTUGUESE OF LUIS DE CAMOENS;17 with Remarks on his Life and Writings. By Lord Viscount Strangford. (In press.)
  • IV.

  • GALILEO.18 HIS LIFE, HIS DISCOVERIES, AND HIS WORKS. From the French of Dr. Max Parchappe. (In preparation.)
 loc_jc.00021_large.jpg  loc_jc.00022_large.jpg  loc_jc.00023_large.jpg  loc_jc.00024_large.jpg

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. This letter is addressed: Walt Whitman Esq | Washington | DC. It is postmarked: Carrier | AUG | 19 | 7 P.M. [back]
  • 2. 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]
  • 3. J. M. Bradstreet & Son, publishers located at 18 Beekman Street, New York, published Drum-Taps. [back]
  • 4. Edward S. Dunster (1837–1888) became a Professor of Obstetrics at the University of Michigan. [back]
  • 5. George P. Philes (1828–1913) was a linguist and bibliographer from New York. [back]
  • 6. Francis Grose (1731?–1791) was an English antiquary and writer of several books on the subject of antiques. Grose's membership in the Surrey regiment earned him the title of captain in 1766, which he adopted as an informal title as well. Grose was the anonymous author of Advice to the Officers of the British Army: With the addition of some Hints to the Drummer and Private Soldier (1783), which satirized British conduct in the American Revolutionary War. [back]
  • 7. Desiderius Erasmus (1467–1536) was a Renaissance scholar and theologian. [back]
  • 8. Polydore Vergil or simply Virgil (?–1555), an Italian priest and scholar. [back]
  • 9. T. L. (Thomas Lamb) Phipson (1833–1908) was a British author who wrote wide ranging works on scientific theory and discovery. [back]
  • 10. David Page (1814–1879) was a widely celebrated Scottish geologist and scientific author of the nineteenth century. President of the Edinburgh Geological Society, Page's pursuit for knowledge and academia in his field came about naturally, when after completing divinity school as a teen and in lieu of joining the ministry, he went to work in scientific lecturing and journalism. [back]
  • 11. Sir Edwin Ray Lankester (1847–1929) was a British zoologist. He was the third Director of the Natural History Museum, London. [back]
  • 12. John Selby Watson (1804–1884) was a British classical translator and deacon; he later pleaded insanity for the murder of his wife, Anne Armstrong. Prior to his crime and life imprisonment, Watson was the headmaster of Stockwell Grammar School and garnered respect as a scholar and translator. Watson was also ordained as a deacon by the Bishop of Ely in 1839. He wrote biographies and religious works, in addition to the volume Reasoning Power in Animals (1867). [back]
  • 13. William Seller (1798–1869) was a physician from Edinburgh and a former editor of the Edinburgh Medical Journal. [back]
  • 14. Henry Stephens (1795–1874) was a Scottish farmer, meteorologist, and agricultural author. During his tour across continental Europe between 1818 and 1819, Stephens gathered intel of agricultural techniques among various plats of land, aiming to advance agricultural methods. In lieu of farming, during the latter part of his life Stephens devoted his time to writing and publishing materials centered on the advancement of farming practice and educating the general public on the basic principles of agricultural science. His book, The Book of the Farm (1841) was revolutionary in execution, lauded as a standard reference work and farming manual. Physiology at the Farm, in Aid of Rearing and Feeding the Live Stock (1867) was authored with William Sellers, M.D., and focused on animal nutrition. [back]
  • 15. William Murray was a physician who wrote about the nervous system and treatment of aneurism. [back]
  • 16. Frederic Swartwout Cozzens (1818–1869) was 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. [back]
  • 17. The Portuguese poet Luis de Camões (d. 1580), sometimes Anglicized as Camoens, is considered the most important poet of the Portuguese language. [back]
  • 18. Galileo Galilei (1564–1642), Italian astronomer and physicist. [back]
  • 19. Enclosed in this letter is a return envelope addressed to the Agathynian Club at 18 Beekman Street, New York. [back]
Back to top