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Charles T. Sempers to Walt Whitman, 4 March 1888

 loc.03769.007_large.jpg Dear Mr. Whitman:

I enclose formal invitation of the Signet Society,—a senior literary society. Prof. Wm James2 would like you to be his guest if you can see your way to accept the Signet invitation. The society of course pays your expenses to and from Cambridge.

You may be pleased to know that Mr. Ernest Rhys3 is to lecture to Harvard students next  loc.03769.009_large.jpg Tuesday evening on the "New Poetry."

I wish to take this opportunity of expressing the personal satisfaction and pleasure not to say inspiration which your poetry have been to me during the last three years. I sent you some time ago a little article4 on your poetry which I published in the Harvard Monthly. I trust you received it safely. I have to apologize for a slight inaccuracy which crept into my article. It  loc.03769.008_large.jpg may not be uninteresting to you to know that I am making a special study of your poetry under the guidance of one of the English instructors here.

With thanks for the brave strong words you have spoken and assurances of a deep personal interest in you and your work

I remain Most truly yours Charles T. Sempers.  loc.03769.010_large.jpg
 loc.03769.003_large.jpg Dear Sir

The Signet Society of Harvard College has authorized me to extend to you an invitation to make an address under its auspices in Sanders Theatre.

Awaiting your reply I remain,

Very truly yours, Charles T. Sempers Walt Whitman Camden N.J.  loc.03769.004_large.jpg  loc.03769.005_large.jpg  loc.03769.006_large.jpg  loc.03769.001_large.jpg Chas Sempers  loc.03769.002_large.jpg

Charles T. Sempers was a Harvard student and later became a Unitarian minister in Boston.


  • 1. This letter is addressed: Walt Whitman | Camden | New Jersey. It is postmarked: BOSTON MASS | MAR 4 | 9-15P | 1888; Camden, N.J. | Mar 5 | 1PM | 1888 | Rec'd. [back]
  • 2. William James (1842–1910), brother of the writer Henry James, was an American psychologist, anatomist, and philosopher, famous for coining the term "stream of consciousness." James's works contain frequent references to Whitman. [back]
  • 3. Ernest Percival Rhys (1859–1946) was a British author and editor; he founded the Everyman's Library series of inexpensive reprintings of popular works. He included a volume of Whitman's poems in the Canterbury Poets series and two volumes of Whitman's prose in the Camelot series for Walter Scott publishers. For more information about Rhys, see Joel Myerson, "Rhys, Ernest Percival (1859–1946)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]
  • 4. "Walt Whitman and His Philosophy" appeared in Harvard Monthly 5 (January 1888), 149–165. [back]
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