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Alfred Wise to Walt Whitman, 17 November 1868

 yal.00134.001_large.jpg Walt Whitman Esq. Dear Sir:

Father directs me to send to you $1.00 to pay for the Expressage on the watch sent to day, the young man who sent it did not understand that it was to be prepaid.

Since the Election1 has passed over, we Brooklynites have no other excitement of that kind till another Election but I suppose in Washington, sight seers are looking for the 4th of March to witness the inauguration of Grant2 On which occasion as on all past inauguration days, Washington will I suppose present a lively appearance and if possible I am going after Consulting you & the folks, to witness it. But I suppose that is too far off  yal.00134.002_large.jpg to speak of now.

Regards from folks. Yours very respectfully & Truly Alfred Wise.

Since the Correction of the watch it has run very well, the fault was with a rubbing of the hands against the dial or glass. Hope it will be satisfactory now!

 yal.00134.003_large.jpg  yal.00134.004_large.jpg

Alfred Wise (1850–1924) was born in Brooklyn; he was the son of William Wise (1814–1903) and Amanda Wise (1818–1891). Alfred's father William was a jeweler for more than seventy years; the Wise's firm was the pioneer jewelry house in Brooklyn when it was founded in 1834 ("Alfred F. Wise, Well Known Jeweler Dies," The Brooklyn Daily Times, July 12, 1924, 2). Alfred became a partner in his father's jewelry business in the 1850s, at which time the business was renamed William Wise & Son. William and Alfred Wise are listed in the Brooklyn Directory for 1866–1867 as living at 233 Fulton St., Brooklyn (Notebooks and Unpublished Prose Manuscripts, ed. Edward F. Grier [New York: New York University Press, 1984], 2:837). According to United States census records, Alfred worked first as a dealer in watches and, later, was listed as a retail jeweler and merchant. He was married to Mabel Alden Bunker (1862–1956); the couple did not have any children.


  • 1. In the presidential election of 1868, Republican candidate General Ulysses S. Grant defeated Democratic nominee Horatio Seymour with a 214–80 electoral advantage (Grant received 400,000 more popular votes); incumbent Andrew Johnson did not receive the Democratic Party's nomination after his impeachment and general unpopularity while in office. The race was marked by a close popular vote, although Grant's success as a Union general during the Civil War is widely acknowledged as significant to his presidential victory. After Pennsylvania went Republican in the elections held on October 13, 1868, the New York Times remarked editorially on the following day: "This splendid civil triumph of Gen. Grant is only surpassed by his brilliant military achievements ("The Great Victory!," The New York Times [November 4, 1868]). [back]
  • 2. Ulysses Simpson Grant (1822–1885) was the highest ranking Union general of the Civil War. As commander of the Army of the Potomac, he accepted the surrender of the Confederate General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox. Grant was elected to two consecutive terms as president, first in 1868 and again in 1872. [back]
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