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Walt Whitman to William James Linton, [13 September 1888]

Dear friend,

If convenient please send me by mail the block of the wood engraving head—as I want to use it here at something I am printing2

Walt Whitman 328 Mickle Street

William J. Linton (1812–1897), a British-born wood engraver, came to the United States in 1866 and settled near New Haven, Connecticut. He illustrated the works of John Greenleaf Whittier, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, William Cullen Bryant, and others, wrote the "indispensable" History of Wood-Engraving in America (1882), and edited Poetry of America, 1776–1876 (London, 1878), in which appeared eight of Whitman's poems as well as a frontispiece engraving of the poet. According to his Threescore and Ten Years, 1820 to 1890—Recollections (1894), 216–217, Linton met with Whitman in Washington and later visited him in Camden (which Whitman reported in his November 9, 1873, letter to Peter Doyle): "I liked the man much, a fine-natured, good-hearted, big fellow, . . . a true poet who could not write poetry, much of wilfulness accounting for his neglect of form."


  • 1. This letter is addressed: W J Linton | p o box 489 | New Haven | Conn:. It is postmarked: Camden, N.J. | Sep 13 | 8 PM | 88; New Haven, Conn. | Sep | 14 | 8 (?)M | 188(?) | Recd. [back]
  • 2. See Whitman's letter to Linton of March 22, 1872. Whitman was to use Linton's engraving in Complete Poems & Prose. By the time Linton received Whitman's letter, he had already sent instructions for the block to be forwarded to Arthur Stedman, an editor at Mark Twain's publishing house. See the letter from Linton to Whitman of October 3, 1888. [back]
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