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
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.
Subjects: Whitman, Walt, 1819-1892; Whitman, Walt, 1819-1892--Manuscripts; Poets, American--19th century;
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.
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.
A poem unpublished in Whitman's lifetime, "After Certain Distastrous Campaigns" was published first in The Uncollected Poetry and Prose of Walt Whitman (ed.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.
A draft of a poem unpublished in Whitman's lifetime but existing in various draft states, including one with the same title in the T. E. Hanley Collection at the University of Texas and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.
Draft of the poem originally published in 1885 as "Ah, Not This Granite Dead and Cold" and later as "Washington's Monument, February, 1885."
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.
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.
Draft of the poem originally published as "Ah, Not This Granite Dead and Cold" in 1885 and published as "Washington's Monument, February, 1885."
"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."
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.
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Repository Contact Information:
The Pierpont Morgan Library
29 East 36th Street
New York, NY 10016-3490