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Walt Whitman to David McKay, 27 December 1888

I have no objection to this going in Miss Gould's little book1—no objection at all, but no vehement desire either—If you can include it conveniently, do so; if not, not—I am feeling easier and freer the last four days.

Walt Whitman

David McKay (1860–1918) took over Philadelphia-based publisher Rees Welsh's bookselling and publishing businesses in 1881–82. McKay and Rees Welsh published the 1881 edition of Leaves of Grass after opposition from the Boston District Attorney prompted James R. Osgood & Company of Boston, the original publisher, to withdraw. McKay also went on to publish Specimen Days & Collect, November Boughs, Gems from Walt Whitman, Complete Prose Works, and the final Leaves of Grass, the so-called deathbed edition. For more information about McKay, see Joel Myerson, "McKay, David (1860–1918)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


  • 1. David McKay published Elizabeth Porter Gould's Gems from Walt Whitman in 1889. To Traubel the poet observed: "These gems, extracts, specimens, tid-bits, brilliants, sparkles, chippings—oh, they are all wearisome: they might go with some books: yes, they fit with some books—some books fit with them: but Leaves of Grass is different—yields nothing to the seeker for sensations" (Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Thursday, December 27, 1888). See also Friday, December 28, 1888. [back]
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