Published Works


About this Item

Title: Philadelphia Public Ledger

Creator: Susan Belasco

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

Whitman Archive ID: per.00169

Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang and Susan Belasco

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.


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

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

Frank Luther Mott, American Journalism a History: 1690-1960 (New York: Macmillan Company, 1995).

William Pannapacker, "Philadelphia, Pennsylvania," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).

Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller. Vol. 4 (New York: New York University Press, 1969).


"For Queen Victoria's Birthday," Philadelphia Public Ledger 24 May 1890: 9


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