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Walt Whitman Manuscripts

Over 1,000 items, including manuscripts, printed works, and portraits of Walt Whitman (1819-1892), the leading American poet of the 19th century.

Collection Contents

Digital ID: 484427 Walt Whitman (1819-1892). Leaves of grass. Proto-Leaf [title page] in Whitman's "Leaves of Grass Blue Book" (1855). Digital ID: 484427

Collection History

NYPL has been a major contributor to The Walt Whitman Archive, an editorial project funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services to digitize and transcribe manuscripts by Walt Whitman (1819-1892), the leading American poet of the 19th century. Spurred by the 150th anniversary of the publication of Whitman's Leaves of Grass, the project drew upon many different repositories in the United States. NYPL provided digital images of Whitman's annotated copy of Leaves of Grass, his own edited proof sheets, and manuscript fragments salvaged by admirers.

This digital presentation coincides with the Library's Fall 2005 commemorative exhibition in its landmark building on Fifth Avenue. This collection also anticipates the presentation of NYPL images and annotated transcriptions in The Walt Whitman Archive website. The works included here represent the manuscripts digitized for that effort. In addition to the portraits of Whitman appearing with the manuscript and printed materials presented here, more portaits can be found in other NYPL Digital Gallery collections. They include the Berg Collection Portrait File (Collection Guide: Authors: Photographs from the Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature) and "The Pageant of America" Photograph Archive. A simple search for "Walt Whitman" will retrieve them all.

Related Resources

Folsom, Ed and Kenneth M. Price, eds. The Walt Whitman Archive. (2005) <http://www.whitmanarchive.org/>

Gewirtz. Isaac. "I Am with You": Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass (1855-2005). (2005)

NYPL. Inventory to the Walt Whitman Collection, 1859-1891; The Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature. (2000) <http://digilib.nypl.org/dynaweb/ead/nypl/brgwhitman/@Generic__BookView>

_____. Walt Whitman: In Life or Death Forever; Highlights from the Library's Collections. With commentary by Francis O. Mattson. (c1992)

_____. Walt Whitman; the Oscar Lion Collection. Introduction by Lewis M. Stark. (1953)

Library Division(s)

NYPL Digital Gallery provides free and open access to over 800,000 images digitized from primary sources and printed rarities in the vast collections of The New York Public Library, including drawings, illuminated manuscripts, historical maps, vintage posters, rare prints and photographs, illustrated books, printed ephemera, and more.