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Leonard M. Brown to Walt Whitman, 9 May [1891]

 loc_jm.00159.jpg Dear Mr Whitman

I have been hoping ever since Christmas (when I usually send you the little yearly present from myself & friend) to have been able to do the same this year, but I am afraid I cannot, for I have been trying to change my way of life this year & earn my living differently to what I have done till now, and have not hitherto succeeded conspicuously. So I must content myself with sending the  loc_jm.00160.jpg contribution of my friend, increased somewhat by help from two others.

With very best love Your affectionate friend Leonard M. Brown.

Please remember me kindly to Mrs. Davis.1

 loc_jm.00161.jpg  loc_jm.00162.jpg

Leonard M. Brown (c. 1857–1928), a young English schoolteacher and friend of Herbert Gilchrist, came to America in May, 1887. On March 31, 1887 Gilchrist wrote to Whitman: "he is an uncommonly good fellow, quiet earnest serious soul and very practical, full of solid worth, whose knowledge and attainments are sure to be valued in America. His father is a clergyman, and this son of his reads Leaves of Grass silently & unobserved by the sect of his orthodox family." An entry in Whitman's Commonplace Book on August 29 reads: "Leonard Morgan Brown goes back to Croton-on-Hudson—has been here ab't a week" (Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). See also Whitman's letter to Leonard Brown of November 19, 1887 and his letter to Herbert Gilchrist of December 12, 1886, note 2.


  • 1. Mary Oakes Davis (1837 or 1838–1908) was Whitman's housekeeper. For more, see Carol J. Singley, "Davis, Mary Oakes (1837 or 1838–1908)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]
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