Wilde Meets Whitman, 1882
Not long after arriving in New York in January 1882, at the start of his Lecture tour Of North America, Oscar Wilde expressed a fervent wish to meet the American poet Walt Whitman, whose works he had been familiar with since a young age.
At this time, Whitman was living in Camden, NJ, close to Philadelphia. As Wilde was scheduled to lecture in Philadelphia on January 17, he wasted no time in inquiring whether a meeting with Whitman could be arranged.
On January 11, J.M. Stoddart, Wilde's friend and publisher in Philadelphia, wrote to Whitman:
Oscar Wilde has expressed his great desire to meet you socially. He will dine with me Saturday afternoon when I shall be most happy to have you join us. The bearer, Mr. Wanier, will explain at greater length any details which you may wish to know, and will be happy to bring me your acquiescence. 
Even before a meeting had been arranged, the press became excited at the prospect:
TheTimes (Philadelphia) 11 January, 1882, 3
Unfortunately, Whitman was not well enough to travel across the river to Philadelphia. He wrote to Mrs. George W. Childs (the wife of the Philadelphia publisher at whose mansion the meeting was proposed) with this apology:
So the meeting would have to take place at Whitman's residence at 431 Stevens Street, Camden, NJ. There must have a been an immediate reply to this letter as Whitman confirmed his availability the same morning:
So on January 18, the day after Wilde's lecture, Wilde and Stoddart traveled over by ferryboat to visit Whitman. Stoddart left the two poets alone for two hours and a pleasant meeting ensued over wine and milk punch.
That same evening a reporter from Philadelphia Press ventured over to find out more about the auspicious occasion, and his interview with Whitman formed the basis of the report below that appeared the following day, and which constitues most of what is known about the meeting: