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Walt Whitman to J. C. Mann, 25 March 1874

To: J. C. Mann2 Tuft's College Box 55 College Hill, Mass.

Your letter of the 20th (for committee) has reached me here. I accept with pleasure the invitation to deliver a poem to your college & visitors next June. Without any thing very definite at this moment, my idea is of a poem, fitting in not unappropriately​ to such an occasion, the recital of which would not occupy more than 30 minutes. All the pay I would want would be enough to pay my expenses, transportation &c., probably between 30 and $40, certainly not more than the latter sum. Please acknowledge this & please write me more particulars about your college, where it is, specialties, if any &c. I am stopping here, not entirely well, but able to get around, recovering from an attack of paralysis of over a year ago.

W. W.


  • 1. This draft letter, owned by Oscar Lion and provided to Edwin Haviland Miller as a typescript, is endorsed, "sent at date." [back]
  • 2. On March 20, 1874, Mann invited Whitman to deliver, on June 17, 1874, a poem before the Mathematician Society of Tufts College, a society "of young men of the Col. desiring to become more proficient in the art of speaking, writing and debate." Mann replied to Whitman's queries on April 2, 1874 (Oscar Lion). Whitman composed "Song of the Universal" for the occasion, but, unable to deliver the poem in person, sent it to Mann on June 11, 1874. [back]
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