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William Sloane Kennedy to Walt Whitman, 6 January 1890


Am at Transcript office, permanent engagement as proof-reader. Have to read like lightning. Previous incumbent died of Influenza-pneumonia.

I get an extra copy of the paper laid on my desk every evening & so mail yours without breaking wrapper. Wd be very grateful for a card fr. you. Address me at Transcript Office any time, or Belmont

W. S. Kennedy.  loc.03055.001.jpg

William Sloane Kennedy (1850–1929) was on the staff of the Philadelphia American and the Boston Transcript; he also published biographies of Longfellow, Holmes, and Whittier (Dictionary of American Biography [New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1933], 336–337). Apparently Kennedy called on the poet for the first time on November 21, 1880 (William Sloane Kennedy, Reminiscences of Walt Whitman [London: Alexander Gardener, 1896], 1). Though Kennedy was to become a fierce defender of Whitman, in his first published article he admitted reservations about the "coarse indecencies of language" and protested that Whitman's ideal of democracy was "too coarse and crude"; see The Californian, 3 (February 1881), 149–158. For more about Kennedy, see Katherine Reagan, "Kennedy, William Sloane (1850–1929)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


  • 1. This letter is addressed: Walt Whitman | Camden | New Jersey. It is postmarked: Camden, N.J. | Jan | 8 | 6AM | 1890 | Rec'd. [back]
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