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Walt Whitman to Damon Y. Kilgore, 24 September [1876]

D Y Kilgore1 Dear Sir

Send me word immediately when (day & hour) & where the Paine bust affair is to come off. I see an announcement in the paper that I am to read a poem on the occasion. I do not propose to read a poem—but I will promise to be there, & speak just a little (say 10 minutes)—if I can be put on the early part of the program (as waiting fags me out entirely)—& perhaps it would be necessary that I should be sent for in a carriage. I would advise that you have some good music, & no long-winded address at all. (Couldn't you get some good baritone singer to sing Paine's fine lively old song of "the Liberty Tree"?)

Walt Whitman

best respects to Mrs Kilgore—love to Charley—


  • 1. Damon Y. Kilgore (1827–1888) was a well-known Philadelphia lawyer and a member of the Liberal League of Philadelphia. In 1875 he prepared a petition to exclude the Bible from the public schools. In the following year he married Carrie S. Burnham, who was the first woman admitted to the bar in University of Pennsylvania. See also Whitman's letters of January 23 and 24, 1877, to Kilgore (Edwin Haviland Miller, ed., The Correspondence [New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977], 3:75–76). [back]
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