Widely scattered and poorly documented, Whitman's journalism has never been fully collected nor adequately edited. The Whitman Archive is attempting to compile the most complete record of his journalism to date, and as always we welcome information from our users regarding leads to lesser-known documents. It is too early in our work to estimate the total number of Whitman's journalistic contributions during the course of his life. Previous editors of Whitman's journalism identified over 1,200 pieces from the period 1842–1848 alone (see Walt Whitman, The Journalism, ed. Herbert Bergman, Douglas A. Noverr, Edward J. Recchia [New York: Peter Lang, 1998], 1:xxviii). This six-year period was probably Whitman's most prolific as a journalist, but he contributed to newspapers and other periodicals for roughly a decade before 1842 and long after 1848. The Whitman Archive's goal is to present page images and full-text transcriptions of the entirety of Whitman's journalistic output. This work will proceed gradually because of resource constraints.
Currently, we offer page images of the New York Aurora during the three months in 1842 when Whitman edited the paper. In addition, with the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities, we are editing several of Whitman's early journalistic series as well as prose pieces Whitman contributed to various newspapers during the Civil War. This work marks the first time these pieces have been gathered and presented together and the first time that some of the pieces have been reprinted since their initial publication. Whitman's 1851 series "Letters from Paumanok" and a first installment of the Civil War journalism are available below; additional pieces will be available soon.
Poems Whitman contributed to newspapers and magazines, such as "Beat! Beat! Drums!," might also rightly be considered journalism. For now, however, we have treated poetic contributions and prose journalism separately. Users interested in Whitman's verse published in newspapers and magazines should refer to the Poems in Periodicals section of the Archive. In the future, we anticipate taking a blended approach to the presentation of these materials.