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Walt Whitman to Reverend Robert Collyer, 11 May 1887

I send today by mail—same address as this—my Volume 'Leaves of Grass'—When rec'd safely will you kindly mail me a card notifying me?2

Walt Whitman

Robert Collyer (1823–1912) was born in Yorkshire, England, and emigrated to the United States in 1837. He became a lay minister in the Methodist church but later converted to Unitarianism and preached at various churches in Chicago. Collyer took over the ministry of the Unitarian Church of the Messiah in New York in 1879. In 1888, Walt Whitman described to Horace Traubel an argument in which Collyer got the better of him, conceding "Collyer's not deep but he's damned cute" and summarized him as "a kind of reduced Beecher—a Beecher with much of the grace lopped off" (Horace Traubel, ed., With Walt Whitman in Camden [1906-1964], Tuesday, May 8, 1888.).


  • 1. This letter is addressed: Robert Collyer | New York City. [back]
  • 2. Walt Whitman records sending "L[eaves] of G[rass] to Robt Colyer NY" on May 11, 1887, in his daybook (Daybooks and Notebooks, ed. William White [New York: New York University Press, 1977], 2:422) and later noted that the book had been acknowledged as received and paid for. [back]
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