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Walt Whitman to Major James B. Pond, 20 April 1887

 loc.03508.002_large.jpg My dear Major

Mr Gilder2 of the Century has just sent me Andrew Carnegie's3 check for $350 for his box—Making my remuneration $600 for the lecture4

Walt Whitman  loc.03508.001_large.jpg

James Burton Pond (1838–1903) was a famous lecture-manager and printer. He was also awarded the Medal of Honor for his services in the Civil War. In his 1900 autobiography Eccentricities of Genius (G. W. Dillingham Co: New York), he writes of Whitman: "Whitman gave a few readings under my management during his life. They were mostly testimonials from friends, and benefits given in the theatres of New York City"; Pond concludes with an anecdote about the poet's meeting with Sir Edwin Arnold (497–501).


  • 1. This postal card is addressed: Major James B Pond | Everett House | New York City. It is postmarked: Camden, N.J. | Apr 2[illegible] | 12 [illegible]M | 87; P.O. | 4–21–87 | 4–1P | N.Y.; D | 4–21–87 | 5 P | NY. [back]
  • 2. Joseph Benson Gilder (1858–1936) was, with his sister Jeannette Leonard Gilder (1849–1916), co-editor of The Critic, a literary magazine. [back]
  • 3. Andrew Carnegie (1835–1919), the prominent industrialist and admirer of Whitman, had donated twice to the support of the aged poet. [back]
  • 4. Whitman is referring to his lecture entitled "The Death of Abraham Lincoln," which he delivered in New York City on Thursday, April 14, 1887. He first delivered this lecture in New York in 1879 and would deliver it at least eight other times over the succeeding years, delivering it for the last time on April 15, 1890. He had published a version of the lecture as "Death of Abraham Lincoln" in Specimen Days (1882–83). For more on the lecture, see Larry D. Griffin, "'Death of Abraham Lincoln,'" Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings, ed. (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998), 169–170. [back]
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