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Date: Between 1848 and 1854
Place: Unknown, probably New York
Photographer: Unknown, perhaps John Plumbe, Jr., whose daguerreotype studio Walt Whitman often visited around this time
Note: Walt Whtiman described himself in an 1842 New York Aurora article: "we took our cane, (a heavy, dark, beautifully polished, hook ended one,) and our hat, (a plain, neat fashionable one, from Banta's, 130 Chatham street, which we got gratis, on the strength of giving him this puff,) and sauntered forth to have a stroll down Broadway to the Battery . . . on we went, swinging our stick, (the before mentioned dark and polished one,) in our right hand—and with our left hand tastily thrust in its appropriate pocket, in our frock coat, (a gray one)." An anonymous writer for Appleton's in 1876 remembered Whitman during this time as "a pleasant gentleman, of agreeable address, [who] went into society as well attired as his precarious resources would allow." William Cauldwell, who worked as a printer on the Aurora in the early 1840s and who knew Walt Whitman well, recalled in 1901 what Whitman looked like then: "Mr. Whitman was at that time, I should think, about 25 years of age, tall and graceful in appearance, neat in attire, and possessed a very pleasing and impressive eye and a cheerful, happy-looking countenance. He usually wore a frock coat and high hat, carried a small cane, and the lapel of his coat was almost invariably ornamented with a boutonniere...."
Type: Print from a lost daguerreotype
Credit: Gay Wilson Allen
ID: 002

Image 002


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