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Franklin File to Walt Whitman, 16 July 1890

 loc.02055.001_large.jpg Dear Sir:

Have you any inclination toward writing a prose story of fiction—a novelette? I could pay you $100 on receipt of the manuscript, five thousand words in length. I would probably publish it in the Boston Herald, New York Sun, Chicago Tribune, and loc.02055.002_large.jpg Philadelphia Press.

I refer you to Mr. Bradford Merrill,2 managing editor of the Press, or to any of the mentioned journals.

Yours respectfully, Franklin File, 1285 Broadway New York.  loc.02055.003_large.jpg  loc.02055.004_large.jpg

Franklin File (also "Fyles," 1847–1911), a writer and editor, was part of a newspaper syndicate including the Boston Herald and the Philadelphia Press. He was also the Dramatic Editor at the New York Sun from 1872 to 1903. He contributed short stories to magazines and newspapers, and is author of one book, The Theater and its People (1900), and several plays including Three Days (1876), The Girl I Left Behind Me (1892) and Cumberland. '61 (1897). In 1890, 1285 Broadway was the address for the uptown offices of the New York Sun.


  • 1. This letter is addressed: Walt Whitman, Esq., | Camden, | New Jersey. File's return address of "1285 Broadway, New York," is printed on the left side of the envelope's verso. The letter is postmarked: Kaaterskill | JUL | 16 | 1890 | N. Y.; Camden, N. J. | [illegible] | 18 | 6AM | 1890 | Rec'd. [back]
  • 2. William Bradford Merrill (1861–1928) had a long career in journalism, beginning with the Philadelphia North American and the Philadelphia Press before moving to the New York Press in 1891. Five years later, Merrill became Managing Editor of the New York World and then of the New York American five years after that. In 1917, William Randolph Hearst named Merrill General Manager of all Hearst publications, a position he held until one year before his death. [back]
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