Resources

Finding Aids for Manuscripts at Individual Repositories

Guide to the Walt Whitman Poetry Manuscripts in The Pierpont Morgan Library, New York

Original records created by The Pierpont Morgan Library, New York; revised and expanded by the Walt Whitman Archive and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries. Encoded Archival Description completed through the assistance of the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, the University of Nebraska Research Council, and the Institute for Museum and Library Services.


Title: Walt Whitman Poetry Manuscripts in The Pierpont Morgan Library, New York

Collection Number: N/A


Creator:  Whitman, Walt, 1819-1892


Repository: The Pierpont Morgan Library

Abstract:
This electronic finding aid was created from the original finding aid and digital images of the original manuscripts obtained by The Walt Whitman Archive. The original papers and finding aid are held at The Pierpont Morgan Library, New York.

Scope and Content: 
The Pierpont Morgan Library holds several Whitman items, including letters, poetry manuscripts, prose manuscripts, and pages from Whitman's diary written during the Civil War. The library also holds letters and manuscripts by other authors (including John Burroughs, John Updike, and D. H. Lawrence) concerning Whitman and his work. This electronic finding aid describes at the item level only two of the prose manuscripts and all of the documents deemed poetry manuscripts.

Biographical Information:
For additional biographical information, see "Walt Whitman," by Ed Folsom and Kenneth M. Price, and the chronology of Whitman's Life.

Subjects:
Whitman, Walt, 1819-1892;  Whitman, Walt, 1819-1892--Manuscripts;  Poets, American--19th century; 


Series Description and Item Lists

Whitman Archive ID: pml.00008
Repository Manuscript ID: MA 517
Title:  "[In general civilization]"
Date: about 1890
Physical Description: 1 leaf, handwritten
View Images:  1 
Eighteen lines of prose in Whitman's hand, beginning "In general civilization" and concerning the formation of a "National Literature," written in pencil with corrections in purple crayon. The draft is composed on the inside of an envelope addressed to "Walt Whitman, Esq., Camden, N.J., Oct. 9(?), 1890" from North American Review. This is a draft of the essay Whitman later published as "American National Literature" in Good-Bye My Fancy (1891). It is laid in one of Whitman's diaries of the war.

Whitman Archive ID: pml.00004
Repository Manuscript ID: MA 518 (A)
Title:  "Ethiopia saluting the colors"
Date: about 1881
Physical Description: 2 leaves, handwritten
View Images:  1  |  2  |  3 
A two-page draft of "Ethiopia Saluting the Colors," which was published first in 1871. This draft reflects a later version of the poem, published first in 1881. The second page of the draft shows two versions of stanza four (Whitman's number), one written on the page and another on a separate slip of paper that he pasted over the first as a revision.

Whitman Archive ID: pml.00006
Repository Manuscript ID: MA 518 (B)
Title:  "After certain disastrous campaigns"
Date: about 1862
Physical Description: 1 leaf, handwritten
View Images:  1 
A poem unpublished in Whitman's lifetime, "After Certain Distastrous Campaigns" was published first in The Uncollected Poetry and Prose of Walt Whitman (ed. Emory Holloway. Garden City, N.Y., Toronto: Doubleday, Page and Company, 1921). The manuscript shows that Whitman originally considered the title "Answer me, year of repulses," which is also the first line of the poem.

Whitman Archive ID: pml.00007
Repository Manuscript ID: MA 518 (C)
Title:  "Starry Union "
Date: about 1876
Physical Description: 1 leaf, handwritten
View Images:  1  |  2 
A draft of a poem unpublished in Whitman's lifetime but existing in various draft states, including one with the same title in the T. E. Hanley Collection at the University of Texas and another, titled "Hands Ro[und]," in the Trent Collection, Duke University. The precise date of composition is unknown, but Whitman very possibly wrote this piece for the Centennial Celebration of 1876, as the date of the letter on the reverse ("Feb 11/76") suggests.

Whitman Archive ID: pml.00001
Repository Manuscript ID: MA 627
Title:  "Ah, not this granite dead and cold"
Date: about 1885
Physical Description: 1 leaf, handwritten
View Images:  1 
Draft of the poem originally published in 1885 as "Ah, Not This Granite Dead and Cold" and later as "Washington's Monument, February, 1885."

Whitman Archive ID: pml.00005
Repository Manuscript ID: MA 931 (A)
Title:  "Beyond this granite dead and cold"
Date: 1885
Physical Description: 1 leaf, handwritten
View Images:  1  |  2 
Draft of the poem originally published in 1885 as "Ah, Not This Granite Dead and Cold" and later as "Washington's Monument, February, 1885." Written on a piece of paper with an envelope pasted at the bottom, postmarked February 18, 1885.

Whitman Archive ID: pml.00009
Repository Manuscript ID: MA 931 (B)
Title:  "[Thou, Washington, art the worlds]"
Date: about 1885
Physical Description: 1 leaf, handwritten
View Images:  1  |  2 
Early draft of the poem originally published as "Ah, Not This Granite Dead and Cold" in 1885 and later as "Washington's Monument, February, 1885." Written on both sides of a thin leaf of paper.

Whitman Archive ID: pml.00010
Repository Manuscript ID: MA 931 (C)
Title:  "Ah, not that granite dead and cold!"
Date: about 1885
Physical Description: 1 leaf, handwritten
View Images:  1 
Draft of the poem originally published as "Ah, Not This Granite Dead and Cold" in 1885 and published as "Washington's Monument, February, 1885."

Whitman Archive ID: pml.00002
Repository Manuscript ID: MA 1212
Title:  "O Captain! My Captain!"
Date: 27 April 1890
Physical Description: 1 leaf, handwritten
View Images:  1 
"O Captain! My Captain!" was written in response to the death of Abraham Lincoln and published first in 1865. This manuscript was written out by Whitman for Dr. S. Weir Mitchell (a prominent author and doctor) at the request of Horace Howard Furness, for the amount of one-hundred dollars. A note on the back of the manuscript in Mitchell's hand says, "To give Walt a little money I offered for a gentleman 100$ for an autograph copy of My Captain—I pin it to Furness note April 1890." This manuscript differs slightly from the first printing, but agrees with that in Leaves of Grass, 1881, with one exception: In the next to the last line, Whitman has probably mistakenly written "dead" for "deck."

Whitman Archive ID: pml.00003
Repository Manuscript ID: MA 4500
Title:  "2d Preface to As a Strong Bird"
Date: about 1872
Physical Description: 1 leaf, handwritten
View Images:  1 
A brief prose note headed "2d Preface to As a Strong Bird." On June 26, 1872, Whitman presented the poem "As a Strong Bird on Pinions Free" for the Dartmouth College commencement, and he published it later that year as the title poem in a small book. The title was later revised to "Thou Mother with Thy Equal Brood" when it was included in Leaves of Grass in 1881. This prose draft was apparently intended as a preface to the poem before its title revision in 1881. In the top left corner Whitman has written "Waves in the Vessel's Wake," a title that was used in manuscript for the poem published first as "In the Wake Following" in 1874 and as "After the Sea-Ship" in 1876.


Restrictions on Original Materials: Please consult with repository.

Preferred Citation: To identify this finding aid as a source, see the Archive's "Conditions of Use" page.


Repository Contact Information:
The Pierpont Morgan Library
29 East 36th Street
New York, NY 10016-3490


Comments?

Published Works | In Whitman's Hand | Life & Letters | Commentary | Resources | Pictures & Sound

Support the Archive | About the Archive

Distributed under a Creative Commons License. Ed Folsom & Kenneth M. Price, editors.