AMERICA’S “GOOD GRAY POET”: WONDERFUL ORIGINAL AUTOGRAPH POSTCARD WRITTEN BY WALT WHITMAN TO EDWARD CARPENTER
WHITMAN, Walt. Autograph postcard, initialed by Whitman. Camden, October 2, 1877. Original postcard measures 5 by 3 inches); handsomely window framed with portrait, entire piece measures 18 by 12-1/2 inches. $4500.
Original autograph postcard to fellow poet Edward Carpenter: “Camden, New Jersey, US America. Oct 2 — I merely write to say at once that your letter & the postal or[der] have both been safely rec’d.— The books (to the address given) will be sent immediately.— I am well for me— H[erbert] G[ilchrist] is at John B[urroughs]’s on the Hudson— Mrs. G[ilchrist] is ill in bed— Harry [Stafford] is well— Will write more fully soon. Thanks & love, WW.” Framed together with a portrait of Whitman.
On October 2, 1877, Whitman wrote this postcard to his friend British poet Edward Carpenter, whose best-known poem "Towards Democracy" clearly shows Whitman's influence, informing him of a shipment of books, probably copies of the second printing of Two Rivulets. Two Rivulets had first appeared a year earlier, "partly as my contribution to our National Centennial," and was reissued in September of 1876. Whitman's reference to Herbert Gilchrist's visit with John Burroughs took place at "Slabsides," Burroughs' "hermit's retreat" on the banks of the Hudson. Herbert's mother, Anne Gilchrist was one of Whitman's greatest admirers. Her appreciative article on Leaves of Grass was praised by William Rossetti as "the fullest, farthest, and most eloquent," and Whitman thought there was "no eulogium so magnificent." In December of 1877 she wrote a friend that she was still recovering from "a somewhat severe operation (under ether) to cure an injury received at the birth of one of my children" (Kaplan, 366). Harry Stafford was Whitman's "young man," whom he had met "at the Camden print shop, where Whitman saw Two Rivulets through the press" (Kaplan,359).
Postcard lightly embrowned, expert repair to vertical tear. Very desirable Whitman item with revealing content.