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John W. Chambers to Walt Whitman, 11 September 1871

 loc_tb.00709.jpg Walt. Whitman, Esq.

At a meeting of the Board of Managers of the Amer. Inst.1 Natl. Exhibition held this evening the following resolution was unanimously adopted:

Resolved, That the Board of Managers of the American Institute respectfully tender their earnest thanks to Walt. Whitman for the magnificent original Poem with which he favored them at the opening of their National Industrial Exhibition in New York Sept 7th 1871.2

Respectfully yours, John W. Chambers Secy John W. Chambers

John W. Chambers, who by 1850 was serving as secretary to the board of directors of the American Institute, also served as a sometimes chairman, clerk, and librarian during his tenure on the board. As late as 1892, he still maintained secretarial duties.


  • 1. Charles E. Burd, along with George Payton and James B. Young, was on the Board of Managers of the 40th Annual Exhibition of the American Institute being held on September 7, 1871. [back]
  • 2. The Committee of the American Institute had written to Walt Whitman on August 1, 1871, "to solicit of you the honor of a poem on the occasion of its opening, September 7, 1871—with the privilege of furnishing proofs of the same to the Metropolitan Press for publication with the other proceedings. . . . We shall be most happy, of course, to pay traveling expenses & entertain you hospitably, and pay $100 in addition" (Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, "Thursday, June 14, 1888," 326). Whitman accepted their invitation on August 5, 1871, and read what he called his "American Institute Poem" (in his September 17,1871, letter to the Roberts Brothers) before the American Institute on September 7, 1871. The poem was published as "After All, Not to Create Only," in 1871 and was retitled "Song of the Exposition" for its publication in Two Rivulets (1876). [back]
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