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Walt Whitman to Sylvester Baxter, 8 August 1881

My dear Baxter1

Yours rec'd​ , & glad to hear from you. Wonder if you—or you & Guernsey2—couldn't help me a little. I am coming on to Boston in ten or twelve days to remain about two months—& I want a plain boardinghouse or good furnished room secured, so I can go right there—Let me give you fuller particulars. Osgood & Co: are going to publish a complete & new volume of my poems, & I am coming on to see to & oversee it, every page—will take six or eight weeks. I want quarters near, or eligible to get at, their printing office, so I can be there two or three hours every day, handy—What I want of you is to ascertain (if you dont​ know already—is it Cambridge?) where their printing is done, & then secure me either board in full, not more than 6, 7 or $8 a week—or a nice furnished room handy as I said. I trust you or Guernsey to know what would suit me & do for me—Try to write me here, so I can get it by first of next week, say 15th or 16th—as I shall want to be coming on within two or three days after that—If you go to Osgood's show them this letter. I am well as usual of late—have been jaunting about the Long Island & Jersey shores &c. last two weeks.

Walt Whitman


  • 1. Sylvester Baxter (1850–1927) was on the staff of the Boston Herald. Apparently he met Whitman for the first time when he delivered his Lincoln address in Boston in April, 1881; see Rufus A. Coleman, "Whitman and Trowbridge," PMLA 63 (1948), 268. Baxter wrote many newspaper columns in praise of Whitman's writings, and in 1886 attempted to obtain a pension for the poet. [back]
  • 2. Like Baxter, Frederic R. Guernsey was associated with the Boston Herald. [back]
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