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Walt Whitman to Peter Eckler, 2 May 1865

Mr. Eckler:1

Dear Sir: I enclose $20 in further liquidation. I wish you would send me a copy of each of the printed sheets, by mail—as I suppose Alvord has printed them.

Before I left New York I paid Bradstreet2 $20 in advance for binding the first 100.

I rec'd the copyright & receipt. I thank you for your kindness in getting the copyright.

Walt Whitman


  • 1. On April 1, 1865, Whitman signed a contract with Eckler to stereotype 500 copies for $254.00: "The workmanship is to be first class in every respect & to be completed, & the printed sheets delivered within one month from this date" (F. DeWolfe Miller, ed., Drum-Taps [Gainesville, FL: Scholars' Facsimiles & Reprints, 1959], xxxv). The contract called for "one hundred & twenty pages," but since the book contained only 72 pages, Eckler submitted on April 22 a bill for $192.85, of which $138.00 had been paid. According to Whitman's notations on the statement, he paid $20.00 on April 26 and again on May 2, perhaps with this letter. Whitman sent another letter on May 3 in answer to Eckler's request of May 1 that the balance be paid. On May 4, Eckler issued a receipt for $34.85, and included a receipt from Coridon A. Alvord, printer, for the stereotype plates, which he had placed in his vault. On April 26, Eckler had informed Whitman that the book was "now to press" and would "be ready for the Binders next Monday morning." For details on the printing history and organization of Drum-Taps see Ted Genoways, "The Disorder of Drum-Taps," Walt Whitman Quarterly Review 24 (Fall 2006/Winter 2007), 98–116.. [back]
  • 2. The receipt for this payment, dated April 21 and signed by Abraham Simpson, is in the Charles E. Feinberg Collection; see also F. DeWolfe Miller, ed., Drum-Taps (Gainesville, FL: Scholars' Facsimiles & Reprints, 1959), xxxvi. J. M. Bradstreet & Son, printers, had their establishment at 8 Spruce Street, New York. [back]
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