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Walt Whitman to Charles W. Eldridge, 18 May 1884

Thank you deeply for sending the excellent picture of Father Taylor1—just what I wanted—I have penned a short informal reminiscence of Father T (in 1859) which may be printed in a magazine—If so I shall send you a copy.

Walt Whitman

Charles W. Eldridge (1837–1903) was one half of the Boston-based abolitionist publishing firm Thayer and Eldridge, who issued the 1860 edition of Leaves of Grass. In December 1862, on his way to find his injured brother George in Fredericksburg, Virginia, Whitman stopped in Washington and encountered Eldridge, who had become a clerk in the office of the army paymaster, Major Lyman Hapgood. Eldridge helped Whitman gain employment in Hapgood's office. For more on Whitman's relationship with Thayer and Eldridge, see David Breckenridge Donlon, "Thayer, William Wilde (1829–1896) and Charles W. Eldridge (1837–1903)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


  • 1. On May 7, 1884, Whitman requested "a good photo (or other picture)" of Father Edward Thompson Taylor (1793–1871) for use in his article, but Whitman's remembrance, "Father Taylor and Oratory," did not appear until 1887. [back]
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