Title: Harper's Monthly Magazine
Author: Susan Belasco
Publication information: Written for the Walt Whitman Archive. First published on the Archive in 2008.
Whitman Archive ID: per.00041
Established in 1850, Harper's Monthly Magazine was initially a vehicle for promotion of the Harper Brothers' reprinted editions of British novels. Taking advantage of the lack of international copyright laws, the Harper Brothers built their successful publishing company on publishing cheap reprints of mostly British novels rather than untried American writers. Edited by Henry J. Raymond and managed by Fletcher Harper (who would later establish Harper's Weekly), the new monthly magazine was designed to offer serializations of books, as well as printing short fiction (by British writers such as Charles Dickens) and articles about authors and topics of general interest. In the late nineteenth century the magazine began to draw more from the work of American writers such as Whitman, who would publish six poems in the periodical from 1874 to 1892. Over the years, Whitman's relationship with Harper's editors was strained; Whitman believed that there was a standing order with the periodical concerning the rejection of all of his submissions. However, there were only four letters of rejection given by Whitman to Horace Traubel. A concise, callous statement on his 1881 Leaves of Grass in the "Editor's Literary Record" by Henry Mills Alden also gave Whitman the impression of disapproval but overall the magazine gave his work favorable reviews.
Portia Baker, "Walt Whitman's Relations With Some New York Magazines," American Literature 7 (1935): 274-301.
Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass: Comprehensive Reader's Edition, ed. Harold W. Blodgett and Sculley Bradley (New York: New York University Press, 1965).
Frank Luther Mott, A History of American Magazines, 1865-1885. Vol. Volume 3 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1938).
Joel Myerson, Walt Whitman: A Descriptive Bibliography (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1993).