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Walt Whitman to Jeannette L. Gilder, 6 August [1881]

After correcting please take five slip impressions (proofs) & send me—direct to me, care of J H Johnston Jeweler, 150 Bowery—that will be my address for 10 days to come—as I have left 65th street.2 I am stopping for the present out at Mott haven—

No objection to mentioning the Osgood Volume, the new & complete Leaves of Grass—If mentioned say while including all the old pieces, it will comprise many fresh poems—will for the first time fulfil what has been W W's main object for twenty years, completeness and relative proportion—and will be essentially a new Volume3

Walt Whitman


  • 1. The year is confirmed by the notes below. Whitman was at the office of The Critic on August 3 (Whitman's Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). He undoubtedly was returning the corrected proof of "Spirit That Form'd This Scene," which appeared in The Critic on September 10. After the poem was rejected by The North American Review, Whitman sent it on May 28 to Jeannette Gilder, who paid him $5 (Whitman's Commonplace Book). [back]
  • 2. Whitman left the home of Edgar Smith on August 6, and stayed with his old friend until August 19, when he went to Boston (Whitman's Commonplace Book). Johnston's summer home was at Mott Avenue and 149th Street. Whitman described Mott Haven in the New York Tribune on August 15 in "City Notes in August." [back]
  • 3. The announcement of Whitman's new edition appeared in The Critic on August 13: "Walt Whitman's poems will soon have the recognition of a well-known publishing house. James R. Osgood & Co.​ will publish 'Leaves of Grass' without any expurgations, the author having made that a condition of his contract. The book will contain many new poems, and will for the first time fulfil what Mr. Whitman says has been for years his main object in relation to the publication of his works—namely, 'completeness and relative proportion.'" [back]
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