“I SEND THE TWO VOLS, CENTENNIAL ED’N”: FINE ORIGINAL AUTOGRAPH POSTCARD SENDING LEAVES OF GRASS, BOLDLY WRITTEN AND SIGNED BY WALT WHITMAN
WHITMAN, Walt. Autograph postcard signed. Camden, 1885. Autograph postcard measures 3 by 5 inches. $8000.
Original autograph postcard confirming the purchase of Leaves of Grass, written and signed by Walt Whitman. Finely window-framed with a portrait of Whitman.
The postcard, written entirely in Whitman’s hand, is addressed to “John K. Randall, Mercantile Library, Baltimore Md.” and reads: “328 Mickle Street, Camden New Jersey.
Aug. Sept. 6. I send the two Vols, Centennial Ed’n, as requested, Price #10-Please remit by post office order-Will send a parcel of minor stuff in a few days. Walt Whitman.” The postcard refers to the Centennial Edition of Leaves of Grass, which was the first edition in which Whitman placed his political poems in a first volume and his spiritual poems and prose in a second volume. Although he was “one of the greatest American poets and the central one in terms of influence on 20th-century American poetry,” Whitman did not attain true worldwide recognition until this edition, when his European editor William Michael Rossetti encouraged a number of famous literary personalities including John Ruskin, Edmund Gosse, George Saintsbury, Alfred Tennyson, and Edward Dowden to become subscribers (ANB). The British support was enough to prompt purchasing of Whitman’s works by American intellectuals and institutions such as the mercantile Library, to which this postcard is addressed. Postcard engraved with vignette illustration reading “Post Card” and one-cent stamp. Postal stamps dated “Sept 1885” and very faint purple stamp of the Mercantile Library.
A splendid autograph postcard in fine condition, boldly written and signed.