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Walt Whitman to Samuel Hollyer, 3 April 1888


Thank you for the handsome etchings—which reach'd me safely. I send you herewith a picture of myself wh' I think might be better for your purposes than the Sarony one1

Walt Whitman  loc.02321.002.jpg

Samuel Hollyer (1826–1919), an etcher and engraver, emigrated to the United States in 1851. His engraving of Whitman as a laborer appears in the first edition of Leaves of Grass. Whitman sent Hollyer the photograph called "Lear" (reproduced in The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller, vol. 4, following page 278, and in Specimen Days [1971], plate 180). Whitman referred favorably to the finished etching on August 4, 1888, in his letter to Richard Maurice Bucke, and in his Commonplace Book on the preceding day (see Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). For Whitman's reservations later, see Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Sunday, August 12, 1888 and Wednesday, August 15, 1888.


  • 1. Several of Sarony's photographs, taken in 1879, appear in Specimen Days (1971), plates 154 and 155. [back]
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