Skip to main content

Hamlin Garland to Walt Whitman, 24 October 1888

 loc.02130.001_large.jpg See notes Oct. 25 1888 Dear Mr. Whitman:

I am over-joyed to receive your volume and autograph be sure it will be read and heralded to the world. I saw Mr. Howells1 yesterday spent the afternoon with him in discussing reforms, literary progress etc𔃀He spoke of you again with a good deal of feeling.

I think it of very great importance that you send him an autograph copy of "November Boughs."2 If it has not been done  loc.02130.002_large.jpg  loc.02130.003_large.jpg dont fail to do it at once. If you send it immediately upon receipt of this letter address W.D. Howells Little Nahaut (Near Lynn) Mass.

If you do not send till next week address W.D. Howells 330 East 17th st. New York City.

And I will write him again about it. He is more than friendly to you and all progressive movements.

With deepest regard— Hamlin Garland  loc.02130.004_large.jpg

Hamlin Garland (1860–1940) was an American novelist and autobiographer, known especially for his works about the hardships of farm life in the American Midwest. For his relationship to Whitman, see Thomas K. Dean, "Garland, Hamlin," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


  • 1. William Dean Howells (1837–1920) was an American realist novelist and literary critic, serving the staff of the New York Nation and Harper's Magazine during the mid 1860s. During his tenure as editor-in-chief of The Atlantic Monthly from 1871 to 1880, he was one of the foremost critics in New York, and used his influence to support American authors like Hamlin Garland, Stephen Crane, and Emily Dickinson. He also brought attention to European authors like Henrik Ibsen, Giovanni Verga, and Leo Tolstoy in particular. Howells was highly skeptical of Whitman's poetry, however, and frequently questioned his literary merit. In an Ashtabula Sentinel review of the 1860 edition Leaves of Grass, Howells wrote, "If he is indeed 'the distinctive poet of America,' then the office of poet is one which must be left hereafter to the shameless and the friendless. for WALT WHITMAN is not a man whom you would like to know." In 1865, Howells would write the first important review of Drum-Taps in the Round Table, demonstrating early signs of his conflicted opinion about Whitman. For more information on Howells, see Susan Goodman and Carl Dawson, William Dean Howells: A Writer's Life (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005). [back]
  • 2. 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]
Back to top