Mount Auburn Cemetery Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts
William Sloane Kennedy (September 26, 1850 – August 4, 1929) was one of Whitman's most devoted friends and admirers. He called on Walt Whitman for the first time on November 21, 1880. Though Kennedy was to become a fierce defender of Whitman, in his first published article he admitted reservations about the coarse indecencies of language and protested that Whitman's ideal of democracy was too coarse and crude.
He was born in Brecksville, Ohio, the son of Rev. William Sloane Kennedy, a Presbyterian minister of
Hudson, Ohio (B.A. Western Reserve 1846), and Sarah Eliza Woodruff, daughter
of the Rev. Simeon Woodruff (B.A. 1809), a graduate of Andover Theological
Seminary, and Mary Granger, of Talmadge and Strongsville, Ohio.
William Sloane Kennedy attended the Preparatory department of Miami University and the Miami University 1869-1871 and again 1872-73 as member of Class of 1874 (belonged to Beta Theta Pi). He entered Yale as a Junior in 1873, graduating in 1875. Studied privately at Yale 1875-76, taught 1876-78, during the last year at Meadville, Pa., also studying in the Meadville Theological Seminary 1877-78; studied at Harvard Divinity School 1878-1880, but never ordained, deciding instead to pursue a literary career.
He was on the regular staff of The American in Philadelphia 1880-81; proof reader with Boston Evening Transcript 1892-95; special contributor to New York Critic, Boston Herald, Boston Index, and Literary World. Kennedy first met Whitman in Philadelphia in 1880 while working on the staff of the American. He soon became a frequent correspondent and visitor to Whitman's Camden, New Jersey, home, a constant contributor of small gifts, and the author of several essays and newspaper articles in praise of Whitman.
He had been engaged in literary pursuits for many years, living in Belmont, Mass., and after 1923 in West Yarmouth; spent 1924-25 and 1926-27 in Italy and England; devoted his whole time from 1909 to 1920 to the Italian language and literature; He is the author of: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1882), John Greenleaf Whittier (1882), Oliver Wendell Holmes (1883), Wonders and Curiosities of the Railroads (1884), Art and Life-A Ruskin Anthology (1886), John G. Whither, the Poet of Freedom (1892), Reminiscences of Walt Whitman with Extracts from His Letters and Remarks on His Writings (1896), In Portias Gardens (1897), The Real John Burroughs (1924), Poems of the Weird and Mystical (1926), Autolycus Pack, or What You Will (1926), Italy in Chains Nation under a Microscope (1926), and The Fight of a Book for the World: A Companion Volume to "Leaves of Grass" (1926); He was the editor of Walt Whitman's Diary in Canada (1904); He translated Cesare Lombroso's After Death hat? (1907) and Camille Flammanon's Psychic Mysterious Forces (1907); He was a contributor to Harper's, Lippincotfs Penn Monthly, Journal of Speculative Philosophy, and The Californian; He was a member of Presbyterian Church, Oxford, Ohio.
He married on June 17, 1883, in Cambridge, Mass., Adeline Ella, daughter of Cyrus and Abigail Lincoln. They had one son, Mortimer who died in infancy. Mrs. Kennedy died on April 26, 1923. He drowned while taking his daily swim in Lewis Bay, West Yarmouth, and was buried at Mount Auburn Cemetery, Boston.
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