I’m taking a slight detour from Whitman and reading a bio on Eugene V. Debs. While I’ve yet to see evidence that Whitman and Debs met in person, there is a very established and strong bond in friendship between Debs and Horace Traubel. In fact there are many pictures that can be found online of the two men together.
I also have confirmation that he met and greatly admired another personality that Whitman too greatly admired, Robert Ingersoll. Debs introduced Ingersoll at a speaking engagement as “the greatest orator in the world.” Debs was hugely influenced by Ingersoll and later became a great orator himself.
Expect to see lots more here on Debs. He was a man who much like Whitman strongly supported the ‘everday working man’ and the Women’s Suffrage movement of the time. I recently toured the Debs home in Terre Haute, IN. Among many other interesting historical relics, in his bedroom hang 2 framed photo’s of Walt Whitman and a card with Whitman’s autograph.
Stay tuned, there will be lots more to share about this great man, Eugene V. Debs…