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"The Untimeliness of the Walt Whitman Exhibition at the New York Public Library: An Open Letter to Trustees," by Charles F. Heartman

 Collection
Identifier: Ms-Coll-66
Called "An Open Letter to the Trustees," Charles F. Heartman's criticism of the New York Public Library's exhibition on the works of Walt Whitman argues that the "obscene" nature of Whitman's poetry should disqualify his works from being presented in a public forum such as an exhibit at the prestigious institution. Sixty copies of the privately printed pamphlet were released in advance of the text appearing in the American Collector (v. 1, no. 3 (Dec. 1925)), a monthly magazine about book collecting edited by Heartman himself. The pamphlet—-a saddle stitched booklet of 5 numbered pages—-includes a photograph of "Walt Whitman and his 'friend' Peter Doyle" and contatains both Heartman's empassioned letter to the library trustees as well as an ensuing "personal statement."

Dates

  • circa 1925

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may exist. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the John J. Wilcox, Jr. LGBT Archives of the William Way LGBT Community Center.

Extent

1 Volumes

Overview

Charles F. Heartman's criticism of the New York Public Library's exhibition on the works of Walt Whitman argues that the "obscene" nature of Whitman's poetry should disqualify his works from being presented in a public forum such as an exhibit at the prestigious institution.

Biographical / Historical

Charles F. Heartman (1883-1953) was a German immigrant collector, book dealer, and publisher who is best known for championing American literature, establishing hundreds of rare book collections among libraries across the United States. Beginning his American career in New York City, Heartman moved his operations several times over the course of his life, making homes in Vermont, New Jersey, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. In Mississippi Heartman and his wife attempted to found a "book farm," a uptopian community of writers, artists, and intellectuals. While he may have associated with a educated and creative crowd in his personal and business pursuits he nevertheless seems to have drawn the line at public expressions of same-sex love and attraction, as this 1925 pamphlet makes clear.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, Michael J. Toklish, 2018
Title
"The Untimeliness of the Walt Whitman Exhibition at the New York Public Library: An Open Letter to Trustees," by Charles F. Heartman
Status
completed
Author
John Anderies
Date
September 28, 2018
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
English

Repository Details

Part of the John J. Wilcox, Jr. LGBT Archives, William Way LGBT Community Center Repository

Contact:
1315 Spruce Street
Philadelphia PA 19107
215-732-2220