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Harry Buxton Forman to Walt Whitman, 16 June 1890

 loc.02100.001_large.jpg My dear Walt Whitman,

The second copy of "November Boughs"1 reached me by post this morning; and a few lines are due to you to let you know its safe arrival. It is a great pleasure to me to receive it. I did particularly want it with your writing in it, and shall always read  loc.02100.002_large.jpg from this copy and value it highly. I did not say anything of its absence from the big parcel,2 because I supposed there was some good reason, & knew I had much more anyway than I deserved. I shall keep the extra phototype portrait where you have placed it in the "Sands."3

Miss Louisa Drewry,4  loc.02100.003_large.jpg the lady whose paper I told you of in my last,5 called here yesterday to see the various editions of your books, and the portraits I have of you. She is a thoroughly intelligent appreciator & sees something of the magnitude of L. of G. She has carried off Mrs. Gilchrist's6 papers on you to read (Herbert's7 book).  loc.02100.004_large.jpg You will probably hear from her, as she fancies to get some books you distribute yourself.

Yours always in affectionate respect H. Buxton Forman

Henry "Harry" Buxton Forman (1842–1917) was a British man-of-letters, an editor of and authority on the works of Keats and Shelley, and, starting in 1887, a conspirator in literary forgeries that were exposed after his death. The correspondence at this time between Bucke and Forman makes it clear that Bucke was also building up Forman's collection of Whitman materials (D. B. Weldon Library, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario).


  • 1. Whitman's November Boughs was published in October 1888 by Philadelphia publisher David McKay. For more information on the book, see James E. Barcus Jr., "November Boughs [1888]," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]
  • 2. Forman acknowledged receipt of the "big parcel" in his June 4, 1890, letter to Whitman. [back]
  • 3. Forman is referring to Whitman's "Sands at Seventy," a group of late poems that he had included in November Boughs (1888) and then included as an "annex" to Leaves of Grass starting with the 1889 printing of the book. [back]
  • 4. Louisa Drewry (1834–1916) of Middlesex, England, began teaching Greek and Latin classes for women in the early 1860s. She became a founding faculty member of The Working Women's College in 1864. She continued teaching classes for women in literature, composition, and history until approximately 1910, and she had amassed a library of 2,000 books by the time of her death in 1916. She was a member of the Browning Society, a contributor to the English Woman's Journal, and is author of A Simple Method of Grammatical Analysis (London: George Bell & Sons, 1891). [back]
  • 5. Forman mentions this paper in his June 4, 1890, letter to Whitman, but he does not give the name of the woman who delivered the paper. See Louisa Drewry's June 20, 1890, letter to Whitman, and Whitman's response of July 1, 1890. [back]
  • 6. Anne Burrows Gilchrist (1828–1885) was the author of one of the first significant pieces of criticism on Leaves of Grass, titled "A Woman's Estimate of Walt Whitman (From Late Letters by an English Lady to W. M. Rossetti)," The Radical 7 (May 1870), 345–59. Gilchrist's long correspondence with Whitman indicates that she had fallen in love with the poet after reading his work; when the pair met in 1876 when she moved to Philadelphia, Whitman never fully returned her affection, although their friendship deepened after that meeting. For more information on their relationship, see Marion Walker Alcaro, "Gilchrist, Anne Burrows (1828–1885)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]
  • 7. Herbert Harlakenden Gilchrist (1857–1914), son of Alexander and Anne Gilchrist, was an English painter and editor of Anne Gilchrist: Her Life and Writings (London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1887). For more information, see Marion Walker Alcaro, "Gilchrist, Herbert Harlakenden (1857–1914)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]
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