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Walt Whitman: A Resource Guide

Library of Congress Website

The Library of Congress holds the most extensive array of Whitman and Whitman-related collections in the world, including manuscripts, rare books, prints, and photographs. Among the Library's holdings are three major manuscript collections housed in the Manuscript Division: the Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman; the Thomas Biggs Harned Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman; and the Walt Whitman Papers, 1837-1957. All or parts of these physical collections have been digitized and made available on the Library's website at the links given below. The listing for each digitized collection includes a link to the Manuscript Division's finding aid for the complete physical collection.

In addition to these collections, the Library's Rare Book & Special Collections Division holds the Charles Feinberg-Whitman Collection, which includes many early editions of Whitman's writings. This collection has not been digitized.

The Library's Exhibitions pages feature digitized versions of present and past physical exhibits held at the Library since the early 1990s. Several of these exhibits include material related to Walt Whitman; one exhibit, Revising Himself: Walt Whitman and Leaves of Grass, focuses exclusively on Whitman's life and work. These exhibits are listed below.

Search the Library's collections of prints, photographs, and drawings on the phrase "Walt Whitman" to find images of Walt Whitman, his residences, and other related items. A gallery of selected images of Whitman appears below.

[Walt Whitman, three-quarter length portrait, standing, facing front]. 1849 or 1850. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
Walt Whitman, 1819-1892. Created 1854. Feinberg-Whitman Collection. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
William Kurtz, photographer. Walt Whitman, 1869. Feinberg-Whitman Collection. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
Samuel Hollyer, engraver. Walt Whitman, 1819-1892. Created 1854. Feinberg-Whitman Collection, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
Walt Whitman, 1819-1892. Feinberg-Whitman Collection. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
G. Frank E. Pearsall, photographer. Walt Whitman, 1876. Feinberg-Whitman Collection. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
Matthew Brady, photographer. [Walt Whitman, half-length portrait, seated in chair, facing left]. [1862]. Feinberg-Whitman Collection. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
Walt Whitman, 1819-1892. Created 1863 or 1864. Feinberg-Whitman Collection. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
Napoleon Sarony, photographer. Walt Whitman, 1878. Feinberg-Whitman Collection. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
Edy Bros., photographer. Portrait of Walt Whitman at seventy. 1880. Feinberg-Whitman Collection. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
George C. Cox, photographer. Walt Whitman, 1887. Feinberg-Whitman Collection. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
Matthew Brady, photographer. [Walt Whitman, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing left]. 1866. Feinberg-Whitman Collection. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Whitman has been the subject of numerous posts on Library of Congress blogs. These are listed below.

The Library has hosted a number of talks, presentations, and symposia related to Walt Whitman during the past two decades, many of which have been filmed and made available online as webcasts. Links to these webcasts appear below.

Lincoln and Whitman: Parallel Lives in Civil War Washington

SPEAKER: Daniel Mark Epstein
EVENT DATE: 2004/09/30
RUNNING TIME: 47 minutes

The Library maintains many resources designed to help teachers and other educators incorporate primary source materials on the Library's website into the classroom. Educator resources on the Library's website that feature materials from the online Whitman collections are listed below.

Materials related to Walt Whitman are dispersed through the Library's website. Notable resources on the site that include Whitman materials, and which are not mentioned elsewhere in this research guide, are listed below.


Chronicling America

A collaborative project of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress, Chronicling America makes available nearly 15 million digitized newspaper pages from 48 U.S. states and District of Columbia. The dates covered currently range from 1789-1963, and the pages are all in the public domain and are free to reuse. The historical newspapers in Chronicling America include samples of Whitman's poetry, as well as articles about his life and writings. For help locating newspaper articles about Whitman, see the following resource created by staff in our Newspaper and Current Periodical Reading Room:


Commentary on "I Hear America Singing"

A discussion of Whitman's poem "I Hear America Singing" by former Library of Congress poetry specialist David Kresh. See also the related recording of former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins reading "I Hear America Singing."


Library of Congress Information Bulletin

Search on Walt Whitman to return articles about Whitman events and features at the Library taking place between 1993-2011, such as a 2005 feature article on the exhibition Revising Himself: Walt Whitman and Leaves of Grass.


Poetry of America

A collection of field recordings by a wide range of award-winning contemporary poets. Each poet reads a singular American poem of his or her choosing and discusses how the poem connects, deepens, or re-imagines our sense of the nation. The feature includes a print version of the poem to complement the recording, as well as a piece by the participating poet. Three Poetry of America recordings feature Whitman:


Today in History

Today in History is a feature that highlights significant events or figures in American history associated with a particular day. Every Today in History feature includes a brief essay supported by primary resources, followed by a bulleted listed which offers suggestions for finding related Library of Congress resources. Two Today in History features highlight Walt Whitman's life and poetry:


Walt Whitman Salutes the New Republic Brazil

Includes the text of the poem "A Christmas Greeting."


Whitman and Nationalism

This page, part of the presentation The World of 1898: The Spanish-American War, includes excerpts from Whitman's writing that reflect national pride and confidence.