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Letter to Walt Whitman

Clapp, Henry Jr. Letter to Walt Whitman. 1860.

Reproduced in With Walt Whitman in Camden (Vol. 2, 375-376), the following is a letter that Clapp sent to Whitman while the poet was in Boston attending to the publishing of the third (1860) edition of Leaves of Grass.

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Monday May 14, '60

My dear Walt: I spent much time yesterday reading your poems, and am more charmed with them than ever. I think you would have done well to follow Mr. Emerson's advice, but you may have done better as it is. At any rate, the book is bound to sell, if enough money is spent circulating the Reprints and advertising it generally. It is a fundamental principle in political economy that everything succeeds if money enough is spent on it. If I could spend five hundred dollars in one week on the Saturday Press I would make five thousand dollars by the operation. Ditto you with the L[eaves]. of G[rass].

You should send copies at once to Vanity Fair, Momus, the Albion, The Day Book, The Journal of Commerce, Crayon--also to Mrs. Juliette H. Beach, Albion, N.Y., who will do you great justice in the S[aturday]. P[ress]. (for we shall have a series of articles)--to Charles D. Gardette Esq, No 910 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, to Evening Journal, Philadelphia, and also some dozen copies to me to be distributed at discretion. Do not hereafter ask the editors to notice at any particular time or at all. for the effect is bad.

I want to do great things for you with the book, and as soon as I get over my immediate troubles will do so. But just now I am in a state of despair even in respect to getting out another issue of the S[aturday]. P[ress]. and all for the want of a paltry two or three hundred dollars which would take the thing to a paying point, and make it worth ten thousand dollars as a transferable piece of property.

Yours in haste,
Henry Clapp, Jr.

People who Created this Work

Clapp, Henry author

People Mentioned in this Work

Beach, Juliette

Clapp encourages Whitman to send a copy of the 1860 Leaves of Grass to Beach for her consideration.

Emerson, Ralph

Clapp laments, somewhat half-heartedly, that Whitman did not take Emerson's advice to edit out the more sexually charged "Children of Adam" poems from the 1860 Leaves of Grass.

Gardette, Charles

Clapp encourages Whitman to send a copy of the 1860 Leaves of Grass to Gardette for his consideration, even supplying him with Gardette's street address in Philadelphia.

The Saturday Press

Clapp laments his current difficulties in funding the Saturday Press and speculates that if he had five hundred dollars to spend on advertising he would in turn make five thousand dollars on the investment.

Whitman, Walt

Clapp tells Whitman how much he enjoys his poetry and informs him of his plans to support the new 1860 edition of Leaves of Grass in the pages of the Saturday Press.