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Dana Estes to Walt Whitman, 14 January 1890

 loc.02009.001_large.jpg Mr. Walt. Whitman, My dear Sir:

The Browning Society of Boston will hold a Memorial Service in honor of the poet,2 in King's Chapel, Tuesday, January 28th, at 4 o'clock, to which you are respectfully and cordially invited.

The President, Col. T. Wentworth Higginson,3 will make the opening address. Prof. Charles Carroll Everett4 will deliver a Memorial Address. The music will be under the direction of Mr. B. J. Lang,5 and will include several songs by Mr. Browning. It is expected that the Rev. A. P. Peabody6 and others will take part in the exercises.

It is the desire of the Society that you may be in some way associated with the Memorial, and if you are unable to be present, you are earnestly requested to send some tribute to the poet; if possible, in the form of a poem for the occasion, and if this is impossible, an appropriate letter.

In the hope of receiving a favorable response, I am Sincerely and respectfully yours, Dana Estes Chairman Executive Committee.  loc.02009.002_large.jpg  loc.02009.003_large.jpg See notes Jan 16, '90  loc.02009.004_large.jpg

Dana Estes (1840–1909) was a champion of international copyright who, with Charles Emelius Lauriat, established the publishing firm of Estes & Lauriat in August 1872. When Lauriat left the firm in 1898, he continued publishing under the name Dana Estes & Co. He also organized the International Copyright Association, was its first secretary, and won the series of "Chatter-box" International Trademark lawsuits (1884–1889), allowing foreigners to acquire copyright in certain U.S. books. A notice of his life and death is recorded in Volume 66 of The Independent.


  • 1. This letter is addressed: Mr. Walt Whitman, | Camden, | N.J. Whitman's name and address are typed. The letter is postmarked: Boston.Mass. | Jan 14 | 7—45P | 1890 | Camden N.J. | Jan 1[illegible] | 1[illegible] | 18[illegible] | R[illegible]. [back]
  • 2. The English poet Robert Browning (1812–1889), known for his dramatic monologues, including "Porphyria's Lover" and "My Last Duchess," was also the husband of poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806–1861). [back]
  • 3. 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]
  • 4. Charles Carroll Everett (1829–1900) was an American philosopher and theologian who served for thirty–one years at the Harvard Divinity School. [back]
  • 5. Benjamin Johnson Lang (1837–1909) was an American conductor, pianist, and composer who was responsible for introducing a great deal of European music to American audiences. [back]
  • 6. Andrew Preston Peabody (1811–1893) was an American clergyman and author; he was both a preacher and professor at Harvard University, as well as acting president. [back]
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