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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

Coll.66

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the John J. Wilcox, Jr. LGBT Archives, William Way LGBT Community Center. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Summary Information

Repository:
John J. Wilcox, Jr. LGBT Archives, William Way LGBT Community Center
Creator:
Heartman, Charles F. (Charles Frederick), 1883-1953
Title:
"The Untimeliness of the Walt Whitman Exhibition at the New York Public Library: An Open Letter to Trustees," by Charles F. Heartman
Date:
circa 1925
Call Number:
Coll.66
Extent:
1 Volumes
Language:
English
Abstract:
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.
Cite as:
"The Untimeliness of the Walt Whitman Exhibition at the New York Public Library: An Open Letter to Trustees," by Charles F. Heartman, circa 1925, John J. Wilcox, Jr. LGBT Archives, William Way LGBT Community Center, Philadelphia, PA.
PDF Version:

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Biography/History

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.

Scope and Contents

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."

Administrative Information

Publication Information

John J. Wilcox, Jr. LGBT Archives, William Way LGBT Community Center

Finding Aid Author

John Anderies

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

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.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, Michael J. Toklish, 2018

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Controlled Access Headings

Form/Genre(s)
  • Library exhibits -- Censorship
Personal Name(s)
  • Whitman, Walt, 1819-1892
Subject(s)
  • Gay erotic poetry, American
  • New York Public Library

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