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[Houghton,] Mifflin & Co., Publishers to Walt Whitman, [11] January 1888


[cut away]ing a little book [cut away] [cut away]nd book for schools [cut away] Lincoln and celebrating [cut away] [cut away]ill contain the [cut away] [cut away] Russell Lowell1[cut away] election from [cut away], state papers and lett[cut away] to inclu[cut away] My Cap[cut away] [cut away] permit


Houghton, Mifflin and Co., Publishers were a publishing firm with offices in Boston and at 11 E. 17th St. in New York. They published, among other works, numerous titles that were adopted as textbooks in many schools. This letter appears to be a request from the publisher to Whitman in order to obtain permission for publishing the poet's poem "O Captain! My Captain!" in one or more books, including one for use in schools.


  • 1. James Russell Lowell (1819–1891) was an American critic, poet and editor of The Atlantic. One of Whitman's famous poetic contemporaries, Lowell was committed to conventional poetic form, which was clearly at odds with Whitman's more experimental form. Still, as editor of the Atlantic Monthly, he published Whitman's "Bardic Symbols," probably at Ralph Waldo Emerson's suggestion. Lowell later wrote a tribute to Abraham Lincoln titled "Commemoration Ode," which has often, since its publication, been contrasted with Whitman's own tribute, "O Captain! My Captain!" For further information on Whitman's views of Lowell, see William A. Pannapacker, "Lowell, James Russell (1819–1891)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998) [back]
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