Whitman published his tribute to Queen Victoria in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, founded in 1836 as a "penny" paper, newspapers which were published daily and sold for a penny. Like other penny papers, the Public Ledger gained a wide readership by publishing local news, such as crime and court reports. By the 1870s, the Public Ledger was the largest newspaper in Philadelphia and was also well-known nationally. Whitman had long admired Queen Victoria who was born in 1819, the same year as his own birth. As early as 1845, he had written in the American Review that she had "more estimable qualities thus far, than any of the long line of monarchs who have sat upon the British throne, and so generally oppressed the British people." He wrote to his friend Richard M. Bucke on May 24, 1889 that he had drunk "health and respects to Queen Victoria" and 1890, he celebrated her seventy-second birthday with this poem and admiring note.
"For Queen Victoria's Birthday." Philadelphia Public Ledger 24 May 1890: 9. This poem was reprinted in the Critic, 16 (24 May 1890), 262 and in four London periodicals. It was included without the note in Good-Bye My Fancy (1891).
Blodgett, Harold W., and Sculley Bradley, eds.Leaves of Grass: Comprehensive Reader's Edition. New York: New York University Press, 1965.
Loving, Jerome. Walt Whitman: The Song of Himself. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999.
Mott, Frank Luther. American Journalism a History: 1690-1960. 3rd ed. New York: Macmillan Company, 1995.
Pannapacker, William."Philadelphia, Pennsylvania." Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia. Ed. J. R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings. New York: Garland, 1998.
Whitman, Walt. The Correspondence. Ed. Edwin Haviland Miller. Vol. 4. The Collected Writings of Walt Whitman. New York: New York University Press, 1969.
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