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Sylvester Baxter to Walt Whitman, 21 June 1887

 loc_es.00089.jpg see notes Sept 11 1888 My dear friend:

Yours of the 18th received,1 and in response I enclose a check for $373. I hope to be able to send more in a few days by calling in the amounts already subscribed as speedily as the pressure of my journalistic work will permit. Had I more time it might progress somewhat faster, but I regard it a privilege to be able to do what I can, and I only wish more energetic hands and a more eloquent tongue might be in charge.

Faithfully yours Sylvester Baxter

P.S.—We all want you to suit loc_es.00090.jpg yourself thoroughly in the matter and we hope you will soon find yourself domiciled amid surroundings after your own heart.2

I have had a call from a bright young German-Japanese, your friend Hartmann,3 who is on his way back to Philadelphia from Europe. It is satisfying to see your friends numbered among such diverse races.

Faithfully yours Sylvester Baxter

Sylvester Baxter (1850–1927) was on the staff of the Boston Herald. Apparently he met Whitman for the first time when the poet delivered his Lincoln address in Boston in April, 1881; see Rufus A. Coleman, "Whitman and Trowbridge," PMLA 63 (1948), 268. Baxter wrote many newspaper columns in praise of Whitman's writings, and in 1886 attempted to obtain a pension for the poet. For more, see Christopher O. Griffin, "Baxter, Sylvester [1850–1927]," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


  • 1. See Whitman's letter to Baxter of June 18, 1887. [back]
  • 2. Boston friends were raising money to buy a summer cottage they hoped would improve Whitman's failing health. Whitman eventually used the money to build his extravagant mausoleum in Harleigh Cemetery—to the shock and dismay of those who had worked hardest to solicit money for the cottage. [back]
  • 3. Carl Sadakichi Hartmann (ca. 1867–1944) was an art historian and early critic of photography as an art form. He visited Whitman in Camden in the 1880s and published his conversations with the poet in 1895. Generally unpopular with other supporters of the poet, he was known during his years in Greenwich Village as the "King of Bohemia." For more information about Hartmann, see John F. Roche, "Hartmann, C. Sadakichi (ca. 1867–1944)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]
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