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Walt Whitman to Karl Knortz, 14 June 1887

Yes, Doctor, I will loan you the Gilchrist book2 to read at your leisure3—Will send it on in a day or two—Go to Cox, photographer, cor. 12th St & Broadway (entrance 12th St.) & see critically some photos of me he has taken—Shall be delighted to see you here—

Walt Whitman

Karl Knortz (1841–1918) was born in Prussia and came to the U.S. in 1863. He was the author of many books and articles on German-American affairs and was superintendent of German instruction in Evansville, Ind., from 1892 to 1905. See The American-German Review 13 (December 1946), 27–30. His first published criticism of Whitman appeared in the New York Staats-Zeitung Sonntagsblatt on December 17, 1882, and he worked with Thomas W. H. Rolleston on the first book-length translation of Whitman's poetry, published as Grashalme in 1889. For more information about Knortz, see Walter Grünzweig, "Knortz, Karl (1841–1918)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


  • 1. This postal card is addressed: Dr. Karl Knortz | 540 East 155th Street | New York City. It is postmarked: Camden, N.J. | Jun 14 | 3 PM | 87; P.O. | 6-14-87 | 12P | N.Y. [back]
  • 2. This reference is to Herbert Harlakenden Gilchrist's (1857–1914) Anne Gilchrist: Her Life and Writings (London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1887) about the life of his mother Anne, one of Whitman's staunchest supporters in Great Britain. For more information on Whitman's relationship with Gilchrist, see "Gilchrist, Anne Burrows (1828–1885)." [back]
  • 3. Whitman sent Anne Gilchrist to Knortz on October 24 (Whitman's Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). [back]
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