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Percy W. Thompson to Walt Whitman, 15 January 1887

 loc_no.00058_large.jpg Walt Whitman, Esq. Dear Sir:

I am endeavoring to procure a collection of autographs of distinguished Americans1, and as such a collection would be incomplete without your autograph, I trust you will pardon me for2[cut away]

 loc_no.00060_large.jpg  loc_no.00059_large.jpg Percy W. Thomson, Lt., U.S.R.M.  loc_no.00061_large.jpg

Percy Wallace Thompson (1858–1935?) was born in Washington D.C., and he attended the Virginia Military Institute and Columbian (now George Washington) University. He was a graduate of the Revenue-Cutter Service Academy in 1881 and was the commanding officer of the U.S.S. Corwin during the Spanish-American War. He wrote articles on the Revenue-Cutter service and on maritime history for several publications, including Scribner's Magazine, the New York Sun, and the Boston Herald (Albert Nelson Marquis, ed., The Book of Chicagoans: A Biographical Dictionary of Leading Living Men of the City of Chicago, Vol. 2 [Chicago: A.N. Marquis & Company, 1911], 669).


  • 1. Whitman was quite annoyed over the many letters he had been recieving from autograph hounds and often complained to his disciple Horace Traubel about them: "Those fellows have one virtue—they always use good paper: and on that I manage to do a good deal of my writing" (Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Friday, July 27, 1888). On the back of this letter, Whitman began drafting notes for an article about himself, titled "Walt Whitman in Camden," which appeared in The Critic on February 28, 1885, under the signature of George Selwyn. It was reprinted in Authors at Home, ed. J. L. and J. B. Gilder (1888), and in Critic Pamphlet No. 2 (1898). [back]
  • 2. The rest of the body of the letter has been cut away. [back]
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