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Catalog of the Walt Whitman Literary Manuscripts in The Walt Whitman Collection, Rare Books and Manuscripts Department, Boston Public Library

Original records created by Boston Public Library; revised and expanded by the Walt Whitman Archive and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries. Encoded Archival Description completed with the assistance of the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, the University of Nebraska Research Council, the Institute for Museum and Library Services, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Title: Walt Whitman Literary Manuscripts in The Walt Whitman Collection, Rare Books and Manuscripts Department, Boston Public Library

Collection Number: 617.859.2225


Creator:  Whitman, Walt, 1819-1892


Repository:  Boston Public Library

Abstract:
This electronic catalog was created from catalog cards and digital images of the original manuscripts obtained by The Walt Whitman Archive. The original papers and catalog cards are held in the Special Collections of the Boston Public Library.

Scope and Content: 
Boston Public Library's Walt Whitman collection contains more than 300 volumes relating to and by Walt Whitman. The collection was founded by Whitman's earliest biographer, Dr. Richard M. Bucke. In 1896, four years after the poet's death, Bucke gave to the Library a large group of Whitman's material, much of which he had received as one of Whitman's literary executors. Included with the collection were 17 photographs and 20 manuscripts. Additions to the original gift include items from the collections of two other executors, gifts from several of Whitman's publishers, and another group of volumes from Bucke. The individual items described in this catalog are only those deemed poetry or prose manuscripts.

Biographical Information:
For additional biographical information, see "Walt Whitman," by Ed Folsom and Kenneth M. Price, and the chronology of Whitman's Life.

Subjects:
Whitman, Walt, 1819-1892;  Whitman, Walt, 1819-1892--Manuscripts; Poets, American--19th century



Whitman Archive Title: Corrections in Plates
Whitman Archive ID: bpl.00005
Repository Title: Proof corrections for 'Backward Glance' etc.
Repository ID: Whitman Mss.6
Date: about 1888
Genre: poetry, prose
Physical Description: 1 leaf, handwritten
View images: 1 | 2
Content: This list of corrections in Whitman's hand, including page numbers and notes, corresponds to a proof of the 1891–1892 edition of Leaves of Grass and is related to the item "[p 287]" in the same collection.



Whitman Archive Title: Eidólons
Whitman Archive ID: bpl.00007
Repository Title: Ten pieces of manuscript
Repository ID: Whitman Mss.1
Date: 1875 or early 1876
Genre: poetry
Physical Description: 5 leaves, handwritten
View images: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10
Content: This manuscript is a draft of "Eidólons," first published in a prepublication review of Leaves of Grass and Two Rivulets. The poem, along with several others, appeared in the 19 February 1876 issue of the New York Daily Tribune under the head: "Walt Whitman's Poems." "Eidólons" was reprinted in the "Two Rivulets" section of Two Rivulets (1876) and in Leaves of Grass (1881–82 and 1891–92). On the reverse of the fourth leaf (surface 8) is part of a faded letter in a hand that is not Whitman's.



Whitman Archive Title: Out from Behind this Mask
Whitman Archive ID: bpl.00001
Repository Title: Ten pieces of manuscript
Repository ID: Whitman Mss.1
Date: About 1876
Genre: poetry
Physical Description: 1 leaf, handwritten
View images: 1 | 2
Content: This is a signed draft of "Out from Behind This Mask," first published in the New York Daily Tribune (19 February 1876), which contains only a version of Part 1 of the poem.



Whitman Archive Title: Religions—Gods
Whitman Archive ID: bpl.00003
Repository Title: Notes on 'Religions—Gods'
Repository ID: Whitman Mss.7
Date: about 1856
Genre: poetry, prose
Physical Description: 2 leaves, handwritten
View images: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
Content: Two pages of reading notes on various world religions and religious figures, based partly on Constantin-François Chasseboeuf comte de Volney's Ruins; or Meditations on the Revolution of Empires (Paris: Levrault, 1802). Edward Grier suggests that "the other material probably came from WW's reading in Bunsen or in magazines" (Notebooks and Unpublished Prose Manuscripts [New York: New York University Press, 1984] 6: 2024). Included are lists of names, definitions, quotations, descriptions, and dates. Many of the notes are written on small sheets of paper which have been glued to the larger sheets. Whitman drew upon this material explicitly in writing "Salut au Monde!," which was first published as "Poem of Salutation" in the 1856 edition of Leaves of Grass.



Whitman Archive Title: The professor's answer
Whitman Archive ID: bpl.00023
Repository Title: The professor's answer
Repository ID: Whitman.13.5.A
Date: about 1870
Genre: poetry
Physical Description: 1 leaf, handwritten
View images: 1 | 2
Content: This early draft of a poem Whitman titled "The Professor's Answer" was tipped into a copy of John Burroughs's Notes on Walt Whitman, as Poet and Person between pages 16 and 17. This poem, ultimately titled "The Base of All Metaphysics," first appeared in print as an addition to the "Calamus" group in Leaves of Grass (1871).



Whitman Archive Title: To a Locomotive in Winter
Whitman Archive ID: bpl.00006
Repository Title: Ten pieces of manuscript
Repository ID: Whitman Mss.1
Date: about 1876
Genre: poetry
Physical Description: 2 leaves, handwritten
View images: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
Content: This is a two-page draft of "To a Locomotive in Winter," first published in the 19 February 1876 issue of the New York Daily Tribune. It appears that originally the two leaves were pasted together as one piece, but have since come apart. On the verso of page two is a draft of an unpublished poem entitled "The Soul and the Poet," which may be a draft of the poem "Come, said my Soul," the epigraph for the 1876, 1881–1882, and 1891–1892 editions of Leaves of Grass.



Whitman Archive Title: [most poets finish single specimens of]
Whitman Archive ID: bpl.00004
Repository Title: Notes on his poetry and Heine
Repository ID: Whitman Mss.3
Date: 1856
Genre: poetry, prose
Physical Description: 1 leaf, handwritten
View images: 1 | 2
Content: A group of several notes, all concerned with the general topics of the character and social position of the poet. The sentences pencilled at the top of the page contributed to the poem "Myself and Mine," first published in 1860 as "No. 10" in the "Leaves of Grass" cluster. The list of seven attributes that is written in the middle of the page formed the basis for a stanza of "Poem of The Singers, and of The Words of Poems," published in 1856 and later combined with one of the 1855 poems to become "Song of the Answerer." Pasted to the manuscript is a clipping, annotated and dated June 1856, about Hungarian literary nationalism, and at the bottom of the page are notes on the German poet Heinrich Heine.



Whitman Archive Title: [p 287]
Whitman Archive ID: bpl.00002
Repository Title: Proof corrections; [Camden, N.J., 1891?]
Repository ID: Whitman Mss.4
Date: 1891
Genre: poetry, prose
Physical Description: 1 leaf, handwritten
View images: 1 | 2
Content: This list of corrections in Whitman's hand, including page numbers and notes, probably corresponds to a proof of the 1891-1892 edition of Leaves of Grass. On the other side is a letter of solicitation from Henry Romeike's clipping bureau dated September 10, 1891.




Restrictions on Original Materials: Please consult with repository.

Preferred Citation:  To identify this catalog as a source, see the Archive's "Conditions of Use" page.


Repository Contact Information:

Boston Public Library
P.O. Box 286
Boston, MA 02117


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Distributed under a Creative Commons License. Ed Folsom & Kenneth M. Price, editors.