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Death of Abraham Lincoln

  • Whitman Archive Title: Death of Abraham Lincoln
  • Whitman Archive ID: upa.00152
  • Repository: Catalog of the Walt Whitman Literary Manuscripts in the Walt Whitman Collection, Annenberg Rare Book & Manuscript Library, University of Pennsylvania
  • Box: 2
  • Folder: 64
  • Date: 1889-1890
  • Genre: prose
  • Physical Description: 1, handwritten
  • View Images: 1 | 2
  • Content: This manuscript contains a passage that appears almost verbatim in "Walt Whitman's Last Public," included within the Memoranda section of Complete Prose Works published in 1892. In the piece, written in third person, Whitman describes the speech he gave on the 25th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's death at the Art Rooms, in Philadelphia, on April 15, 1890, and the passage appearing in this manuscript is reported to be the literal opening address of the talk. We don't have certainty that this is true, though, as we do not have a written version of the talk. Some phrases in this version also bear resemblance with the printed version of the lecture "Death of Abraham Lincoln," delivered in New York in 1879, in Philadelphia in 1880 and in Boston in 1881 . Portions of this lecture were also originally published as "Abraham Lincoln's Death. Walt Whitman's Account of the Scene at Ford's Theatre", in the New York Sun on 12 February 1876 and were included in Memoranda During the War (1875-1876). "Abraham Lincoln's Death" was revised and published as "A Poet on the Platform" in the New York Daily Tribune on 15 April 1879 and was subsequently reprinted as "Death of Abraham Lincoln" in Specimen Days & Collect (1882-1883) before finally appearing in Complete Prose Works in 1892.

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