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About this Item

Title: The Long-Islander

Creator: Susan Belasco

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

Whitman Archive ID: per.00177

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


In the spring of 1838, Whitman founded his own newspaper, the Long-Islander, in Huntington, New York. For about ten months, he lived and worked in a small building, serving as writer, editor, compositor, and even as the delivery boy. Whitman fondly remembered his experiences in Specimen Days (1882):

My first real venture was the "Long Islander," in my own beautiful town of Huntington, in 1839. I was about twenty years old. I had been teaching country school for two or three years in various parts of Suffolk and Queens counties, but liked printing; had been at it while a lad, learn'd the trade of compositor, and was encouraged to start a paper in the region where I was born. I went to New York, bought a press and types, hired some little help, but did most of the work myself, including the press-work. Everything seem'd turning out well; (only my own restlessness prevented me gradually establishing a permanent property there.) I bought a good horse, and every week went all round the country serving my papers, devoting one day and night to it. I never had happier jaunts—going over to south side, to Babylon, down the south road, across to Smithtown and Comac, and back home. The experiences of those jaunts, the dear old-fashion'd farmers and their wives, the stops by the hay-fields, the hospitality, nice dinners, occasional evenings, the girls, the rides through the brush, come up in my memory to this day.

Whitman published some prose pieces as well as his first known poem, "Our Future Lot," in his newspaper. But evidently finding the responsibilities too great, he sold the newspaper during the summer of 1839 and moved to New York City. Because no copies of the Long-Islander are known to exist, the Walt Whitman Archive currently has no transcription or page image for the poem that appeared in this periodical.

Bibliography

Karbiener, Karen. "Long Islander." In Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, edited by J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings. New York: Garland Publishing, 1998.

Loving, Jerome. "A Newly Discovered Whitman Poem." Walt Whitman Quarterly Review 11 (Winter 1994): 117-122.

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

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

Whitman, Walt. Specimen Days. Edited by Floyd Stovall. New York: New York University Press, 1963, 1:287.

Poems

"Our Future Lot." Long-Islander, before 31 October 1838


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