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About this Item

Title: The Boston Weekly Globe

Creator: Susan Belasco

Publication information: Written for the Walt Whitman Archive. First published on the Archive in 2008.

Whitman Archive ID: per.00158

Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, Susan Belasco, and Kevin McMulle


Whitman lived temporarily in Boston during the fall of 1881, mainly to supervise a new edition of Leaves of Grass, published by James R. Osgood. While there, he learned of the death on September 19 of President James A. Garfield, who had been wounded by an assassin in early July. Whitman knew Garfield; the two had met in Washington, D.C. in 1864 when Garfield was a young Congressman and Whitman was working in the Attorney General's office. Whitman published "The Sobbing of the Bells," a poem in commemoration of the president's death in the Weekly Globe, a popular Boston newspaper founded in 1872. The editors of the Globe secured a loyal audience by publishing extensive stories of local and regional news. The paper also printed fiction as well as poetry. On September 19, 1881, the entire front page of the newspaper was devoted to "The Tributes of a Galaxy of American Poets" for President Garfield, including poems by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Julia Ward Howe, and Whitman, whose poem appeared last on the page. Whitman included a note at the end of his poem "From a forthcoming volume," which served to advertise his new edition of Leaves of Grass. Later, as he completed the page proofs for the 1881 edition, he inserted the poem in the "Songs of Parting," the final cluster of the new book.

Bibliography

Hayes, Maverick Marvin. "Boston, Massachusetts." In Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, edited by J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings. New York: Garland Publishing, 1998.

Loving, Jerome. Walt Whitman: The Song of Himself. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999.

Mott, Frank Luther. A History of American Magazines, 1865-1885. Vol. 3. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1938.

Myerson, Joel. Walt Whitman: A Descriptive Bibliography. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1993.

Whitman, Walt. Leaves of Grass: Comprehensive Reader's Edition. Edited by Harold W. Blodgett and Sculley Bradley. New York: New York University Press, 1965.

Poems

"The Sobbing of the Bells." The Boston Weekly Globe, 27 September 1881, [1]


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