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William F. Jackson to Walt Whitman, 9 November [1890]

 loc.02374.001_large.jpg Walt Whitman, My dear Sir:—

Your "Old Poets"1 in the November Number of the North American Review,2 I read with much pleasure & interest, particularly the last expanded thought from the paragraph "grand as to–day's accumulation find of poetry is, &c" to the  loc.02374.002_large.jpg end of the sketch.

It seems to me that the poetry of the future should include the ideas of the brotherhood of man—(your solidarity, is it not?)—& the fatherhood of God & charity is (unselfishness) (love) to all on Faith & happiness (perfect) in re-union with our fellow-man in  loc.02374.003_large.jpg Heaven—our Father's house for all time, (Eternity). With the central idea running through it all of the redemption of men (humanity) by this Elder Brother, the Christ.

Pardon my sending you my thoughts, which, judging from the tone of your article  loc.02374.004_large.jpg I feel sure you will understand

I beg leave to sign myself,

One of your admirers William F. Jackson Newark, N.J.

Why should not the poem that is to last be written by an American? Do not all nations meet & blend in America?


Little is known of William F. Jackson, except that he joined the South Park Presbyterian Church of Newark, New Jersey, in September 1880 (where he served as maintenance supervisor); in 1890, he became a charter member of the Essex Troop of Light Cavalry (eventually absorbed into the New Jersey National Guard).


  • 1. Whitman's essay "Old Poets" was first published in the November 1890 issue of The North American Review. [back]
  • 2. The North American Review was the first literary magazine in the United States. The journalist Charles Allen Thorndike Rice (1851–1889) edited and published the magazine in New York from 1876 until his death. After Rice's death, Lloyd Bryce became owner and editor, and he held these positions at the time of Jackson's letter. [back]
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