Skip to main content

Walt Whitman to S. S. McClure, 3 September 1887

Can you use this little poem, "Shakespeare-Bacon Cipher?" The price is $25. . . . I retain the right to print in future book. It will not be proper for you to take out copyright—but the thing is exclusively yours until after printing and publishing in your papers.1

Samuel Sidney McClure (1857–1949) was the co-founder and editor of McClure's Magazine. Well-known for its investigative journalism, the illustrated monthly initially rejected Whitman's submissions and only posthumously published some of his poetry (in 1897).


  • 1. After McClure refused "Shakspere-Bacon's Cipher," Whitman sent it on September 6 to Henry Alden, of Harper's New Monthly Magazine, who also rejected it. On September 13 it was submitted to The Cosmopolitan, which paid $20 and printed it in October (Whitman's Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). [back]
Back to top