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Prestonia Mann Martin and the Mann Family of New York

Research by Enid Mastrianni, Page 6

February 13, 2005, Walt Whitman

Discovered another amazing fact about Prestonia Mann Martin. Franklin Benjamin Sanborn (AKA Frank Sanborn) wrote biographies of Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne and Alcott. He was also one of the "Secret Six" who helped finance John Brown. In 1897 Sanborn gave a talk to the Whitman Fellowship in Boston. This was written down and a Walt Whitman group at Rutgers University recently put the text online.

"He [Walt Whitman] was extremely friendly to all persons. In Concord, on the morning of the Sunday spent with me, he drove with Miss Prestonia Mann, who was living in Concord for the summer, and had a fine pair of Arabian-looking horses. She took him in her carriage, driving herself."

The entire text can be found at: (Editor's note:  It appears that the text is no longer online.)

Whitman visited Concord in 1881, when Prestonia would have been 19 years old. Whitman was elderly. One of Prestonia Mann Martin's obituaries mentions that she knew Whitman, but after reading long biographies of Whitman and finding nothing, I figured it was a mistake by the obit writer. After all, he lived from 1819-1892; she lived 1861-1945. But here we have it. It's as if as I, as a 19 year old, gave Alan Ginsburg a spin around Greenwich Village in my red convertible sports car.



1. Correspondence, Enid Mastrianni to Afrolumens Project, February 13, 2005.

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