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Henry Clapp, Jr. to Walt Whitman, 9 January 1891

 loc_tb.00049.jpg My dear Walt

Wish you a Happy New Year, and [illegible] take it in your new tomes and the "Old Gray Poet", and the other things you proposed to send me when we took "them drinks" in Printing House Square.

By the way in my file of the Sat. Press, I have about twenty parodies, imitations, burlesques etc of the Leaves of Grass some—indeed most—of which are exceedingly clever. I think if your publishers would issue them in pamphlet form, together with some splendid prose  loc_tb.00050.jpg criticisms from the same paper, the pamphlet would sell & serve as a first class advertisement. I was amazed in looking over the file yesterday to note the number, variety, and brilliance of the articles which the L. of G. inspired, simply in that one paper.

I am living permanently here (that is to say in the old Phalanx near Redbank) and my brother is with me and in fine condition, mental, mood, & physical. We hope some day to see you here. You will find open doors and open arms.

Yours as aforetime Henry Clapp Jr Redbank1 N.J.

P.S. I am engaged at present doing the "Persuals" for Jo Howard's Star2 and editorials etc for the Fireside Companion N.Y.

Henry Clapp, Jr. (1814–1875) was a journalist, editor and reformer. Whitman and Clapp most likely met in Charles Pfaff's beer cellar, located in lower Manhattan. Clapp, who founded the literary weekly the Saturday Press in 1858, was instrumental in promoting Whitman's poetry and celebrity: over twenty items on Whitman appeared in the Press before the periodical folded (for the first time) in 1860. Of Clapp Whitman told Horace Traubel, "You will have to know something about Henry Clapp if you want to know all about me." For more about Whitman's thoughts on Clapp, see Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Sunday, May 27, 1888. For more information on Clapp, see Christine Stansell, "Clapp, Henry (1814–1875)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings, eds., (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


  • 1. In the address line of this letter's closing salutation, the word "Redbank" has been added in red ink. [back]
  • 2. The New York Star was a newspaper edited and published by Joseph Howard Jr. (1833–1908), one of the best-known journalists of his time; he oversaw the paper until 1875, and the paper continued to be published until 1891. [back]
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