John Greenleaf Whittier was an American Quaker poet, associated with the Fireside poets, and a fervent abolitionist. In a letter to Lucy Larcom (1855), he described reading Robert Browning’s Men and Women as “taking a bath among electric eels.”
This letter acknowledges Whittier’s gift to the Brownings of his book The Panorama and Other Poems (1856) and contains a “kind and gratifying word of sympathy” from him. In the letter the Brownings express their gratitude that Whittier has numbered them with his friends.
The letter is mounted in an Autograph Book which had belonged to Elizabeth Whittier Pickard, niece of John Greenleaf Whittier. The album also contains letters, notes, and autographs by Julia Ward Howe, Edward Everett, John Greenleaf Whittier, Phoebe Cary, U.S. Grant, Alice Cary, Emily Faithfull, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Bayard Taylor, A. Bronson Alcott, Henry W. Longfellow, Daniel Webster, Celia Thaxter, William Cullen Bryant, Edward Everett, William Lloyd Garrison, Joaquin Miller, P.T. Barnum, Edward E. Hale, Oliver Wendell Holmes, George and Louis MacDonald, and many others.
The holdings of the Armstrong Browning Library related to John Greenleaf Whittier include over eighty books, fourteen letters, and an album owned by Whittier’s niece.