West Park, NY: February 25, 1885.
3 pages. 8vo. ON WHITMAN: "HE IS A LARGE, HEROIC, HELPFUL SOUL" Bifolium, the last page written vertically on verso of first, trace remains of mounts to terminal blank page Item #308410
A letter from one of Whitman's disciples to a British admirer, rich in biographical detail on the bard, then recently installed in what would prove to be his final home, in Camden, New Jersey. Reading in part:
". . . I will convey to Mr. Whitman your expressions of interest in himself & in his work. I spent a couple of days with him in Dec. He was in fairly good health & seemed to enjoy his rather solitary life. He owns, or partly owns, a small house in Camden N.J. where he lives. A laboring man & his wife keeps his house & board him. He has many warm friends in Phila. where he goes a great deal. It is always pretty low tide with him in money matters, as his books bring him in but a small income, & he is very free with any money he may have if he sees those more needy than himself. His productive days are probably over. He is now honored in his own country as he should be except by a small circle of readers. I congratulate you on having discerned what a source of strength & joy his poems are. And Whitman himself is as restful & cheering in his silent look & manner, as are his poems. He is a large, heroic, helpful soul."
Burroughs (1837-1921) was one of the four important lifetime disciples of Whitman, who helped care for and spread the reputation of the poet in his later life; the present response to an inquiry by a British admirer, made when Whitman was 65, is a good example of the latter. Burroughs also wrote two studies of Whitman: Notes on Walt Whitman as Poet and Person (1867, with the heavy involvement of Whitman himself); and Whitman, A Study (1896).
Leonard Morgan Brown was an English schoolteacher and friend of another Whitman devotee, the painter Herbert Gilchrist. In 1887, Gilchrist wrote favorably about Brown to Whitman, which led to a visit by the admirer to the poet; an entry in Whitman's commonplace book on August 29, 1887 reads: "Leonard Morgan Brown goes back to Croton-on-Hudson—has been here ab't a week"
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