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Walt Whitman to David McKay, 25 April 1890


Yes will sell the London proposer 100 sets of the entire autograph sheets, plates & back labels for complete book and throw in one of my bound copies, (making 101 altogether)—for $320—I to receive that sum in full—you to make a fair bonus addition for your trouble.


David McKay (1860–1918) took over Philadelphia-based publisher Rees Welsh's bookselling and publishing businesses in 1881–82. McKay and Rees Welsh published the 1881 edition of Leaves of Grass after opposition from the Boston District Attorney prompted James R. Osgood & Company of Boston, the original publisher, to withdraw. McKay also went on to publish Specimen Days & Collect, November Boughs, Gems from Walt Whitman, Complete Prose Works, and the final Leaves of Grass, the so-called deathbed edition. For more information about McKay, see Joel Myerson, "McKay, David (1860–1918)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


  • 1. This a draft letter; the version of the letter that Whitman sent to McKay is not extant. [back]
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