Selected Criticism

Grey, Ellen
Kalnin, Martha A.
Print source:
J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings, eds., Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998), reproduced by permission.

In his notebooks for 1856, Whitman mentions Ellen Grey, an actress for the Bowery Theater from approximately 1853–1854 and 1857–1860; she re-appeared in 1865. She married during her five-year absence from the stage, but other than her theater roles, little is known about her life.

In 1862, Whitman received a love letter from "Ellen Eyre," thought to be Grey's pseudonym. Scholars connect Grey to Eyre because of their similar names and Whitman's cryptic notations or conversational references to them. Since Whitman mentions Grey once and the connection to Eyre is slight, scholars cannot determine her impact on Whitman.


Hollis, C. Carroll. "Whitman's 'Ellen Eyre.'" Walt Whitman Newsletter 2 (1956): 24–26.

Miller, Edwin Haviland. "Walt Whitman and Ellen Eyre." American Literature 33 (1961): 64–68.

Odell, George C.D. Annals of the New York Stage. 15 vols. New York: Columbia UP, 1927–1938.

Whitman, Walt. Notebooks and Unpublished Prose Manuscripts. Ed. Edward F. Grier. 6 vols. New York: New York UP, 1984.

Zweig, Paul. Walt Whitman: The Making of the Poet. New York: Basic Books, 1984.


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