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Walt Whitman at the Lilly

Whitman to John Swinton, 6 May 1876

In May 1876, Whitman sent the two volumes of his "Centennial Edition" to the New York Times journalist John Swinton.  Writing from his brother’s house at 431 Stevens Street in Camden, NJ, to Swinton at 134 East 38th Street in New York City, Whitman alerts him that he has “to-day forwarded by Adams’ Express prepaid to same address as this card–one set. Two Vols. My new Edition. Complete works.  Please notify me.”  

Swinton showed little thanks for such solicitude. A few years after Whitman's death he addressed the fan club (the “Whitman Fellowship”) founded by Whitman’s disciple Horace Traubel and lashed out against the poet, claiming that he had had “no intellect” and that he had been “a troglodyte pure and simple” (“Talks of Walt Whitman:  John Swinton Surprises His Hearers at the Annual Dinner of the Fellowship,” The New York Times, 1 June 1898).  The Adams Express Company, incorporated in 1854, was the largest express shipping company on the East Coast.

Whitman to Swinton front

Walt Whitman to John Swinton, 6 May [1876].  American Literature Mss.