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Walt Whitman to John Burroughs, 2 September [1873]

1There is his old Brooklyn partner…who is also a natural builder and carpenter (practically and in effect) architect. … My brother thinks (and I think so, too) that if you have not committed yourself, you could not do better than to get Smith2 to plan and supervise and practically work with you…an honest, conscientious, old-fashioned man, a man of family…youngish-middle-aged—you would like him—I do—…If you need him, & he will go, he is your man.

John, I think 'The Birds of the Poets' your best article, in many respects—it has a jaunty air, in a perfectly natural way—flits and hops and soars and sings around in a birdish way itself3 …I shall remain here for the present.4


  • 1. Transcript. [back]
  • 2. When George Washington Whitman was building homes in Brooklyn after the Civil War, Smith was associated with him in his speculations. [back]
  • 3. In the essay in Scribner's Monthly Burroughs quoted passages pertaining to birds in various poems. [back]
  • 4. The last sentence is taken from the text in the catalog of the American Art Association, November 5–6, 1923. [back]
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