Title: Once a Week
Creator: Susan Belasco
Publication information: Written for the Walt Whitman Archive. First published on the Archive in 2008.
Whitman Archive ID: per.00184
Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, Susan Belasco, Said Fallaha, and Kevin McMullen
Once A Week, founded by P.F. Collier in 1889, was the offshoot of the popular Collier's Library of fiction and eventually became Collier's, The National Weekly, which was published until 1957. Determined to promote his editions of fiction, Collier established Once A Week as a family journal with stories, humor, comics, and theater reviews. The editor, Nugent Robinson, who accepted Whitman's work, was widely regarded for his high standards and commitment to first-rate contributors, including H. Rider Haggard, Julian Hawthorne, and James Whitcomb Riley. The weekly was also known for its numerous illustrations, which appeared on virtually every one of its sixteen pages. Whitman had earlier published two poems in the journal. "[On, On the Same, Ye Jocund Twain]" and "[Unseen Buds]" were published on the same day on 9 June 1891. Whitman's third and final piece in the journal, "A Thought of Columbus," was promoted by his friend Horace Traubel as the poet's final poem and appeared on July 2, 1892, several months after Whitman's death. A week after "A Thought of Columbus" appeared, Once a Week printed a facsimile of Whitman's manuscript under the title "The Good Gray Poet's Last Verses." A week after the facsimile appeared, Traubel published an article in the magazine explaining the circumstances under which Whitman composed the poem, writing that the poet was inspired by a newspaper article about the four hundredth anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the "New World."
Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass: Comprehensive Reader's Edition, ed. Harold W. Blodgett and Sculley Bradley (New York: New York University Press, 1965).
Frank Luther Mott, A History of American Magazines, 1885–1905. Vol. 4 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard UP, 1957).
Joel Myerson, Walt Whitman: A Descriptive Bibliography (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1993).
Ned Stuckey-French, "A Thought of Columbus," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).
"[On, On the Same, Ye Jocund Twain]," Once a Week 9 June 1891
"[Unseen Buds]," Once a Week 9 June 1891