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Walt Whitman to William Michael Rossetti, [3 July 1876]

[Sent letter] also July 3, acknowledging £45.9.6 sent me in letter of June 20 '76 with list.1

William Michael Rossetti (1829–1915), brother of Dante Gabriel and Christina Rossetti, was an English editor and a champion of Whitman's work. In 1868, Rossetti edited Whitman's Poems, selected from the 1867 Leaves of Grass. Whitman referred to Rossetti's edition as a "horrible dismemberment of my book" in his August 12, 1871, letter to Frederick S. Ellis. Nonetheless, the edition provided a major boost to Whitman's reputation, and Rossetti would remain a staunch supporter for the rest of Whitman's life, drawing in subscribers to the 1876 Leaves of Grass and fundraising for Whitman in England. For more on Whitman's relationship with Rossetti, see Sherwood Smith, "Rossetti, William Michael (1829–1915)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


  • 1. This is Whitman's summary of a letter, or postcard, which apparently is not extant. Rossetti's letter, which included a list of English subscribers to the 1876 version of Leaves of Grass, is also unknown. Whitman received the following sums from Rossetti: £28.4 on April 19, 1876; £45.9.6 on June 20, 1876; £21.18 ($116.01) on October 11, 1876; and $23.30 on September 10, 1877. See Whitman's Commonplace Book (Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.) and his September 10, 1876, letter to Rossetti. [back]
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