Skip to main content

Robert S. Watson to Walt Whitman, 29 September [1884]

 loc_jp.00047_large.jpg To Walter Whitman, Esqr Sir,

To my only Brother, who for nearly two years has been a helpless sufferer in Santiago, I am sending a specially prepared Birthday Book: and it is my very earnest wish to obtain for insertion in my Book the name of your most honored self.

I trust you will graciously pardon my freedom in asking the favour of your sign-manual on enclosed slip; and if you can possibly oblige in this direction the Book will ever be most gratefully remembered by

Your obedient servant R. Watson1  loc_jp.00048_large.jpg  loc_jp.00049_large.jpg  loc_jp.00050_large.jpg

Robert Spence Watson (1837–1911), a labor reformer, politician, writer, and distinguished lawyer, was apparently one of William Michael Rossetti's friends and among the early English admirers of Leaves of Grass. Whitman had sent a set of books on August 30, 1876. On September 29, 1884, Watson requested an inscribed copy of Leaves of Grass.


  • 1. 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]
Back to top