Extremely Rare Original Postcard circa 1880 by Famous American Poet Walt Whitman to Famous American Journalist Franklin Benjamin (F.B.) Sanborn regarding the decline of an invitation to join him at a gathering.
Walt Whitman is among the most influential American poets in the American canon, often called the father of free verse. His famous works include “Leaves of Grass”, “Democratic Vistas” and “Passage to India”. Whitman is claimed as America’s first “poet of democracy” it is through his work that the American character and voice is truly articulated. His strong opinions on slavery, sexuality, religion and alcohol make him a character of polarity.
F.B Sanborn was a social scientist and memorialist of American Transcendentalism who wrote early biographies of the movement’s key figures. He was active in politics as a member of the Free Soil Party in New Hampshire and Massachusetts and was one of the six influential men who supplied abolitionist John Brown with support for the raid on Harper’s Ferry on October 16-18, 1859. Even at the tender age of nine, Sanborn developed a position against slavery and stated to his family that it was not only wrong but that the United States Constitution should be revised or revised to reflect a firm anti-slavery stance. Walt Whitman describes F.B. Sanborn as “a fighter, up in arms, a devotee, a revolutionary crusader, hot in the collar, quick on the trigger, noble, optimistic.”
As one can see from the message on the postcard, Walt Whitman attributes his inability to attend the event to his impending three week journey over the Lakes, the St. Lawrence and up the Saguanay. He anticipates the journey to be 900 miles by boat. This postcard is dated near the late 1800s from the presence of the one cent Queen Victoria stamp. The beginning of such prestamped, pictureless postcards entered circulation on June 1, 1871. When examining Walt Whitman’s series of life events, it is discovered that the time of his correspondences to his dear friend F.B. Sanborn with special note on the state of his health begins in the 1880s; newspapers confirm that he is ill in Canada near that time as well. And though he had been in constant cycles of sickness and health, Whitman believes this trip will be beneficial to him.
Handwritten with fountain pen, this message reads “London Ontario Canada July 25- Thanks for your kind invitation which has reached me here- should be delighted to accept it and be with you all- but I start to-morrow morning on a three week trip over the Lakes, the St Lawrence and up the Saguanay- I have been pretty ill but am now better and the doctor thinks the trip will do me good- We go nearly all the way 900 miles by boat. Walt Whitman”.
There is light discoloration on the front and back of the postcard to suggest that it was previously framed circa 1880s. To the left of the postcard is a print of an original hand-drawn photo of Walt Whitman. There is beautiful aging on the artifact. F.B. Sanborn was of such prominence that it was not necessary to have his complete mailing address noted on the postcard- members of the community knew exactly where he resided.
This postcard comes from the personal archives of F.B. Sanborn. It was preserved by his family who believed the exchange between the two famous American writers had immeasurable intrinsic value.
The print and postcard are professionally framed in a gold gilded, double matted, 1940s later period vintage frame. The frame is approximately 80 years old. All in fine condition. Comes with a lifetime guarantee certificate, free appraisal.
Appraised for $60,000, our price is $29,000.
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