Resources

Catalogs of Manuscripts at Individual Repositories

Catalog of the Literary Manuscripts in The Oscar Lion Collection of Walt Whitman, The New York Public Library

Original records created by the New York Public Library, Louis M. Stark et al. (1953); machine-readable catalog created by David Dodson and Terry Catapano; revised and expanded by the Walt Whitman Archive and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries. Encoded Archival Description completed with the assistance of the Gladys Kreible Delmas Foundation, the University of Nebraska Research Council, the Institute for Museum and Library Services, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Title: Literary Manuscripts in The Oscar Lion Collection of Walt Whitman

Collection Number: N/A


Creator:  Whitman, Walt, 1819-1892


Repository:  New York Public Library

Abstract:
This electronic catalog was created from catalogue records created by the New York Public Library, and obtained by The Walt Whitman Archive. The original papers and catalogue records are held in the Oscar Lion Collection of Walt Whitman at the New York Public Library.

Scope and Content: 
In May, 1953, Mr. Oscar Lion presented to The New York Public Library a portion, and deposited there the remainder, of his remarkable collection of books, letters and manuscripts by or about Walt Whitman. Brought together during some thirty-five years of enthusiastic collecting, Mr. Lion's Whitmaniana totals over five hundred pieces, some of which are of great rarity and significance for the study of Whitman's life and writing. This catalog describes only those items deemed poetry and/or prose manuscripts.

Biographical Information:
For additional biographical information, see "Walt Whitman," by Ed Folsom and Kenneth M. Price, and the chronology of Whitman's Life.

Subjects:
Whitman, Walt, 1819-1892;  Whitman, Walt, 1819-1892--Manuscripts; Poets, American--19th century



Whitman Archive Title: A remembrance
Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00117
Repository Title: (A remembrance)
Date:
Genre: poetry
Physical Description: 1 leaf, handwritten
View images: 1
Content: A heavily revised line toward what seems to have been intended as a poem titled "A remembrance," honoring the air we breathe and also "a breed of full-sized young men and women."



Whitman Archive Title: A string of Poems
Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00115
Repository Title: A string of Poems
Date: before 1859
Genre: poetry
Physical Description: 1 leaf, handwritten
View images: 1
Content: This scrap reads, in its entirety, "A string of Poems (short, etc.), embodying the amative love of woman—the same as Live Oak Leaves do the passion of friendship for man." Since, as Fredson Bowers points out in his introduction to Whitman's Manuscripts: "Leaves of Grass" (1860): A Parallel Text (lxxiii-lxxiv), Whitman dropped the title "Live Oak Leaves" in late spring, 1859, and adopted calamus as his symbol of manly love, the date must be earlier.



Whitman Archive Title: All moves unwittingly or halts
Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00126
Date: about 1856
Genre: prose
Physical Description: 1 leaf, handwritten
View images: 1 | 2
Content: Heavily revised prose notes that constitute a partial draft of the "Letter to Ralph Waldo Emerson," which Whitman published in the "Leaves-Droppings" section of the 1856 edition of Leaves of Grass.



Whitman Archive Title: Appendage
Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00111
Repository Title: Appendage
Date: 1850–1870
Genre: poetry
Physical Description: 1 leaf, handwritten
View images: 1
Content: A list of trial titles, probably for annexes or supplements to Leaves of Grass.



Whitman Archive Title: First, to me
Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00091
Repository Title: First, to me, come the People
Date: about 1890
Genre: prose
Physical Description: 1 leaf, handwritten
View images: 1
Content: A prose fragment that Whitman used in the essay, "American National Literature," first published in the North American Review in March 1891, under the title "Have We a National Literature?" The essay was reprinted in Good-Bye My Fancy (1891) before finally being collected in Complete Prose Works (1892).



Whitman Archive Title: Have I no word for thee To the Year 1889
Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00083
Date: about 1889
Genre: poetry
Physical Description: 1 leaf, 12.5 by 19.5 cm, handwritten
View images: 1 | 2
Content: About seven lines, with revisions, toward the poem "To the Year 1889." The writing on the verso (not in Whitman's hand) makes reference to the title of this poem, as well as to Good-Bye My Fancy and a "Putnam 1902 Edition." "To the Year 1889" was first published on January 5, 1889, in the Critic. The poem was retitled "To the Pending Year" for its inclusion in Good-Bye My Fancy (1891)



Whitman Archive Title: How mean a person
Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00523
Repository Title: How mean a person is sometimes...
Date: Before or early in 1855
Genre: prose
Physical Description: 1 leaf, handwritten
View images: 1 | 2
Content: A single line concerning a "mean" person, "even in the Presidency!" The line has no known connection to any of Whitman's published works. On the back of this leaf (nyp.00079), Whitman drafted trial lines of the poem that was eventually titled "Song of Myself." Based on this, Edward Grier dates this manuscript to before or early in 1855 (Notebooks and Unpublished Prose Manuscripts [New York: New York University Press, 1984], 1:180). The manuscript is glued to another manuscript (nyp.00524) that also features lines of prose.



Whitman Archive Title: I know a rich capitalist
Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00129
Date: Between about 1854 and 1860
Genre: prose, poetry
Physical Description: 14 leaves, handwritten
View images: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27
Content: Emory Holloway has pointed out that Whitman's reference to the sinking of the San Francisco indicates that this notebook, "or at least part of it, is later than 1853." He writes that "it was probably begun in 1854" because the "marble church" in the first passage presumably refers to the Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan, "which was not completed until then." See Holloway, "A Whitman Manuscript," American Mercury 3 (December 1924), 475–480. See also Andrew C. Higgins, "Art and Argument: The Rise of Walt Whitman's Rhetorical Poetics, 1838-1855," PhD diss., University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1999; and Edward F. Grier, Notebooks and Unpublished Prose Manuscripts (New York: New York University Press, 1984), 1:128–135. Of the notebook passages that can be identified with published works, most represent early versions of images and phrases from the 1855 poem eventually titled "Song of Myself." One passage clearly contributed to the 1856 poem later titled "Song of the Open Road." Others are possibly connected to the poems eventually titled "A Song for Occupations" and "Great Are the Myths," both first published in the 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass, and to the preface for that volume. One passage seems to have contributed to the 1860–1861 poem that Whitman later titled "Our Old Feuillage." One passage is similar to a line in a long manuscript poem unpublished in Whitman's lifetime, titled "Pictures". The first several lines of that poem (not including the line in question) were revised and published as "My Picture-Gallery" in The American in October 1880 and then in Leaves of Grass as part of the "Autumn Rivulets" cluster (1881–1882, p. 310). No image of the outside back cover of the notebook is available because it has been stitched into a larger volume.



Whitman Archive Title: Inscription To the Reader at the entrance of Leaves of Grass
Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00520
Date: 1860–1867
Genre: poetry
Physical Description: 6 leaves, handwritten
View images: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11
Content: One of a series of draft introductions Whitman prepared for Leaves of Grass, but which were never printed during his lifetime. This particular introduction, composed entirely in verse, was reworked and revised multiple times. Though "Inscription To the Reader at the entrance of Leaves of Grass" did not appear in print as a distinct and cohesive piece until collected by Clifton Joseph Furness in Walt Whitman's Workshop (1928), portions of this draft were distilled into "One's-self I Sing," first published as "Inscription" in the 1867 edition of Leaves of Grass. Whitman revised this poem before including it as "One's-self I Sing" in 1871, dropping some of the lines only to reintroduce them in "Sands at Seventy" (1888), under the title "Small the Theme of My Chant." Both "One's-self I Sing" and "Small the Theme of My Chant" appeared in the 1891-92 edition of Leaves of Grass. Lines from this manuscript were also revised and used in the poem "So Long!," which first appeared in the 1860-61 edition of Leaves of Grass. The verso of the last leaf is blank and an image is unavailable.



Whitman Archive Title: Inscription at the entrance of Leaves of Grass
Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00517
Date: 1860–1867
Genre: poetry
Physical Description: 3 leaves, handwritten
View images: 1 | 2 | 3
Content: One of a series of draft introductions Whitman prepared for Leaves of Grass, but which were never printed during Whitman's lifetime. This particular introduction, composed entirely in verse, was reworked and revised multiple times. Though "Inscription at the entrance of Leaves of Grass" did not appear in print as a distinct and cohesive piece until collected by Clifton Joseph Furness in Walt Whitman's Workshop (1928), portions of this draft were distilled into "One's-self I Sing," first published as "Inscription" in the 1867 edition of Leaves of Grass. Whitman revised this poem before including it as "One's-self I Sing" in 1871, dropping some of the lines only to reintroduce them in "Sands at Seventy" (1888), under the title "Small the Theme of My Chant." Both "One's-self I Sing" and "Small the Theme of My Chant" appeared in the 1892 edition of Leaves of Grass. Images of the versos are unavailable.



Whitman Archive Title: Leaves of Grass.
Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00522
Date: 1855
Genre: poetry
Physical Description: 4 p. 1., xii, (1) 14-95 p. , 30 cm., front. (port.)
Images: currently unavailable
Content: Whitman's own copy, with handwritten notes and the original pink paper covers, of the 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass. Into this copy, Whitman has tipped 8 booklets of manuscripts, 52 leaves in all, as well as typed copies of six of the booklets. The cover contains a handwritten note by Horace L. Traubel about the finding of this copy. With holograph letter of Anne Montgomerie Traubel to Oscar Lion, dated May 12, 1928, describing the finding of this copy after Whitman's death.



Whitman Archive Title: Lo, space, eternal
Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00098
Date:
Genre: poetry
Physical Description: 1 leaf, handwritten
View images: 1
Content: Three lines of poetry, with revisions. No connection to Whitman's published poetry is known.



Whitman Archive Title: Night of south winds
Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00078
Repository Title: Ms. leaf recto (Night of south winds — Night of the large few stars ..)
Date: Between 1850 and 1855
Genre: poetry
Physical Description: 1 leaf, approximately 19.5 x 19 cm., handwritten
View images: 1 | 2
Content: Whitman probably drafted this manuscript between 1850 and 1855 as he was composing the first (1855) edition of Leaves of Grass. Words and imagery from the manuscript appear in the first poem of that edition, eventually titled "Song of Myself." On the reverse (nyp.00733) are lines used in a different part of the same poem.



Whitman Archive Title: Old Age Echoes
Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00081
Date: 1889-1891
Genre: poetry
Physical Description: 1 leaf, 20.1 by 19.5 cm, handwritten
View images: 1 | 2
Content: Lightly revised draft of a poem titled "Sounds of the winter too." Under the title "Sounds of the Winter," the poem was one of four belonging to the "Old Age Echoes" cluster, first published in Lippincott's Magazine 47 (March 1891) and then reprinted in Good-bye My Fancy (1891). The writing on the verso (not in Whitman's hand) makes reference to Good-Bye My Fancy and to "Sounds of Winter," as well as to a "Putnam 1902 Edition." There is also a postmark dated 18 October 1889.



Whitman Archive Title: One good of knowing
Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00124
Repository Title: One good of knowing the great politics of nature
Date: about 1860
Genre: poetry, prose
Physical Description: 1 leaf, handwritten
View images: 1
Content: A prose note on "the great politics of nature" that Whitman reworked and used in the poem "To a President," first published in Leaves of Grass (1860–1861), and reprinted in subsequent editions of Leaves.



Whitman Archive Title: Passage to India
Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00080
Date: 1870-1871
Genre: poetry
Physical Description: 23 leaves, numbered 1-21, with pages designated "5 1/2" and "5 3/4.", 25.2 by 20 to 31.2 by 20.5 cm., handwritten, print
View images: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47
Content: Revised draft of the poem "Passage to India," first published in a small volume of the same name in 1871. It was later included as a supplement to the second issue of the 1871 edition of Leaves of Grass. At some point before March 15, 1870, Whitman had an early draft of the poem set in print by Andrew and Thomas Rome (the printers of the 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass). Whitman then used the printed pages to make edits and corrections, which he subsequently sent to publisher J.S. Redfield, who ultimately printed the finished book. Since this particular draft contains portions of the printed poem pasted onto the manuscript pages, it most likely dates from after March 1870. At the repository, the draft is accompanied by a typewritten memorandum by Emory Holloway, as well as typewritten letters from Amy Lowell and Clifton Joseph Furness to Oscar Lion; images of these items are not available.



Whitman Archive Title: Passage to India
Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00077
Date: 1869–1871
Genre: poetry
Physical Description: 13 leaves, handwritten
View images: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26
Content: Notes and drafted lines for the poem "Passage to India," first published in a small volume of the same name in 1871. It was later included as a supplement to the second issue of the 1871 edition of Leaves of Grass. The first page features the watermark of "Platner & Porter, Congress" in the upper right-hand corner.



Whitman Archive Title: Poem
Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00120
Date:
Genre: poetry
Physical Description: 1 leaf, handwritten
View images: 1
Content: A newspaper clipping pasted onto a piece of paper, with Whitman's handwritten notes in the margins. The title "Poem" and the first note indicate that he is deriving an idea for a new poem from the newspaper excerpt, which deals with the "ennobling" effect of struggles and hardships one may face in life.



Whitman Archive Title: Points in Proem
Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00121
Repository Title: Points in Proem
Date:
Genre: poetry
Physical Description: 1 leaf, handwritten
View images: 1
Content: Notes on some material to incorporate into the "Proem" Whitman drafted in another manuscript.



Whitman Archive Title: Proem
Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00118
Repository Title: Proem
Date:
Genre: poetry
Physical Description: 1 leaf, handwritten
View images: 1
Content: Draft of a line justifying the poet's inclusion of "amativeness" as a topic in his poems. The title "Proem" suggests that this may be the draft of a passage for a prefatory poem.



Whitman Archive Title: The Biography
Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00082
Date: about 1867
Genre: poetry
Physical Description: 1 leaf, 18 by 11 cm, handwritten
View images: 1 | 2
Content: Heavily revised draft of the poem "When I Read the Book" that extends onto the verso. The poem was first published in the 1867 edition of Leaves of Grass before being revised for inclusion in the "Inscriptions" cluster of the 1871 edition. This draft seems to correspond more closely to the earlier version of the poem, although it contains several lines that do not appear in either version.



Whitman Archive Title: The Blue Book
Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00015
Date: about 1860
Genre: poetry
Physical Description: 243 leaves, handwritten
View images: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50 | 51 | 52 | 53 | 54 | 55 | 56 | 57 | 58 | 59 | 60 | 61 | 62 | 63 | 64 | 65 | 66 | 67 | 68 | 69 | 70 | 71 | 72 | 73 | 74 | 75 | 76 | 77 | 78 | 79 | 80 | 81 | 82 | 83 | 84 | 85 | 86 | 87 | 88 | 89 | 90 | 91 | 92 | 93 | 94 | 95 | 96 | 97 | 98 | 99 | 100 | 101 | 102 | 103 | 104 | 105 | 106 | 107 | 108 | 109 | 110 | 111 | 112 | 113 | 114 | 115 | 116 | 117 | 118 | 119 | 120 | 121 | 122 | 123 | 124 | 125 | 126 | 127 | 128 | 129 | 130 | 131 | 132 | 133 | 134 | 135 | 136 | 137 | 138 | 139 | 140 | 141 | 142 | 143 | 144 | 145 | 146 | 147 | 148 | 149 | 150 | 151 | 152 | 153 | 154 | 155 | 156 | 157 | 158 | 159 | 160 | 161 | 162 | 163 | 164 | 165 | 166 | 167 | 168 | 169 | 170 | 171 | 172 | 173 | 174 | 175 | 176 | 177 | 178 | 179 | 180 | 181 | 182 | 183 | 184 | 185 | 186 | 187 | 188 | 189 | 190 | 191 | 192 | 193 | 194 | 195 | 196 | 197 | 198 | 199 | 200 | 201 | 202 | 203 | 204 | 205 | 206 | 207 | 208 | 209 | 210 | 211 | 212 | 213 | 214 | 215 | 216 | 217 | 218 | 219 | 220 | 221 | 222 | 223 | 224 | 225 | 226 | 227 | 228 | 229 | 230 | 231 | 232 | 233 | 234 | 235 | 236 | 237 | 238 | 239 | 240 | 241 | 242 | 243 | 244 | 245 | 246 | 247 | 248 | 249 | 250 | 251 | 252 | 253 | 254 | 255 | 256 | 257 | 258 | 259 | 260 | 261 | 262 | 263 | 264 | 265 | 266 | 267 | 268 | 269 | 270 | 271 | 272 | 273 | 274 | 275 | 276 | 277 | 278 | 279 | 280 | 281 | 282 | 283 | 284 | 285 | 286 | 287 | 288 | 289 | 290 | 291 | 292 | 293 | 294 | 295 | 296 | 297 | 298 | 299 | 300 | 301 | 302 | 303 | 304 | 305 | 306 | 307 | 308 | 309 | 310 | 311 | 312 | 313 | 314 | 315 | 316 | 317 | 318 | 319 | 320 | 321 | 322 | 323 | 324 | 325 | 326 | 327 | 328 | 329 | 330 | 331 | 332 | 333 | 334 | 335 | 336 | 337 | 338 | 339 | 340 | 341 | 342 | 343 | 344 | 345 | 346 | 347 | 348 | 349 | 350 | 351 | 352 | 353 | 354 | 355 | 356 | 357 | 358 | 359 | 360 | 361 | 362 | 363 | 364 | 365 | 366 | 367 | 368 | 369 | 370 | 371 | 372 | 373 | 374 | 375 | 376 | 377 | 378 | 379 | 380 | 381 | 382 | 383 | 384 | 385 | 386 | 387 | 388 | 389 | 390 | 391 | 392 | 393 | 394 | 395 | 396 | 397 | 398 | 399 | 400 | 401 | 402 | 403 | 404 | 405 | 406 | 407 | 408 | 409 | 410 | 411 | 412 | 413 | 414 | 415 | 416 | 417 | 418 | 419 | 420 | 421 | 422 | 423 | 424 | 425 | 426 | 427 | 428 | 429 | 430 | 431 | 432 | 433 | 434 | 435 | 436 | 437 | 438 | 439 | 440 | 441 | 442 | 443 | 444 | 445 | 446 | 447 | 448 | 449 | 450 | 451 | 452 | 453 | 454 | 455 | 456 | 457 | 458 | 459 | 460 | 461 | 462 | 463 | 464 | 465 | 466 | 467 | 468 | 469 | 470 | 471 | 472 | 473 | 474 | 475 | 476 | 477 | 478 | 479 | 480 | 481 | 482 | 483 | 484 | 485
Content: Of nearly as much significance as Whitman's copy of the 1855 Leaves is his copy of the Boston, 1860-61 edition, the famous "Blue Book." It is this volume, in blue paper wrappers, that was discovered in Whitman's desk by Secretary of the Interior James Harlan, leading to Whitman's dismissal from the Department on June 30, 1865. Documenting this event in Whitman's life in Washington, the Lion Collection also includes a group of seven letters and documents relating to his work in the Departments of the Interior and Justice. Among these are Secretary Harlan's letter of dismissal, and a memorandum in Whitman's hand recording a conversation with W. T. Otto of the Department of the Interior about the finding of the "Blue Book" in Whitman's desk; images of these items are unavailable.

The book itself is heavily corrected and revised throughout in Whitman's hand, in preparation for later editions, though in fact Whitman never implemented many of the changes he contemplated. The "Blue Book" is another remarkable example of his lifelong habit of editing and rewriting his poems. The flyleaf is inscribed: "Property of Horace L. Traubel / Received from Walt Whitman May 23d 1890—W. saying: 'You fellows value these curios more than I do. This will help you to see how the book grew, if that is anything. But I guess you would know how it grew if you never possessed the book. The book is a milepost . . . This gives a glimpse into the work shop . . .'"



Whitman Archive Title: The crowds naked in the
Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00733
Repository Title: Ms. leaf verso (The crowds naked in the bath...)
Date: Between 1850 and 1855
Genre: poetry
Physical Description: 1 leaf, approximately 19.5 x 19 cm., handwritten
View images: 1 | 2
Content: Whitman probably drafted this manuscript between 1850 and 1855, as he was composing the first (1855) edition of Leaves of Grass. The phrase "attraction of gravity," used in this manuscript, was used twice in that edition, including in a line in the poem eventually titled "A Song for Occupations." Another line from the manuscript appears in the first poem of that edition, eventually titled "Song of Myself." On the reverse (nyp.00078) are lines also used in that poem.



Whitman Archive Title: The whip sting ray
Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00094
Repository Title: The whip sting ray
Date: about 1856
Genre: poetry, prose
Physical Description: 1 leaf, handwritten
View images: 1
Content: A manuscript fragment discussing the dangers of the "whip sting ray"—much "dreaded by fishermen" in the New York area. These prose notes bear no known relationship to Whitman's published works. However, at the top of the manuscript are cancelled lines which read: "and winrows are the green backed spotted mossbonkers . . . the fishermen stand in negligent ease, poised on their strong limbs—." Whitman used these cancelled lines, in slightly revised form, in the poem that would eventually be known as "A Paumanok Picture." First published as part of "Poem of Salutation" in Leaves of Grass (1856), then as part of "Salut au Monde" in the 1860–1861, 1867, and 1871–1872 editions of Leaves; these lines were later extracted and published as a separate poem, "A Paumanok Picture," in Leaves of Grass (1881–82 and 1891–92). An image of the verso is unavailable.



Whitman Archive Title: To the Reader at the Entrance of Leaves of Grass
Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00515
Date: 1860–1867
Genre: poetry
Physical Description: 4 leaves, handwritten, printed
View images: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6
Content: One of a series of draft introductions Whitman prepared for Leaves of Grass, but which were never printed during Whitman's lifetime. This particular introduction, composed entirely in verse, was reworked and revised multiple times. Though "To the Reader at the Entrance of Leaves of Grass" did not appear in print as a distinct and cohesive piece until collected by Clifton Joseph Furness in Walt Whitman's Workshop (1928), portions of this draft were distilled into "One's-self I Sing," first published as "Inscription" in the 1867 edition of Leaves of Grass. Whitman revised this poem before including it as "One's-self I Sing" in 1871, dropping some of the lines only to reintroduce them in "Sands at Seventy" (1888), under the title "Small the Theme of My Chant." Both "One's-self I Sing" and "Small the Theme of My Chant" appeared in the 1892 edition of Leaves of Grass. Lines from this manuscript were also revised and used in the poem, "So Long!," which first appeared in the 1860 edition of Leaves of Grass.



Whitman Archive Title: [Dec 23, 1864 good—& must be used]
Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00513
Date: 1860–1864
Genre: prose
Physical Description: 8 leaves, handwritten
View images: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15
Content: One of a series of draft introductions Whitman prepared for Leaves of Grass, but which were never printed during Whitman's lifetime. Though this introduction was not printed as a complete and distinct piece until collected by Clifton Joseph Furness in Walt Whitman's Workshop (1928), portions of this draft were used in Democratic Vistas (1871).



Whitman Archive Title: [I can tell of the long besieged city]
Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00511
Repository Title: I can tell of the long besieged city
Date: 1845–1855
Genre: prose, poetry
Physical Description: 1 leaf, handwritten
View images: 1 | 2
Content: A scrap of paper with poetic lines that were used in revised form in the 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass. The lines contained in this manuscript were eventually used in the poem ultimately titled "Song of Myself." On the verso of this scrap is a prose fragment with no known connection to Whitman's published work.



Whitman Archive Title: [May 17 '81—Glendale]
Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00527
Date: 1881
Genre: prose
Physical Description: 1 leaf, handwritten
View images: 1 | 2
Content: Prose notes, dated May 17, 1881, that may have contributed to "Cedar-Apples," first published in Specimen Days & Collect (1882-83).



Whitman Archive Title: [The Epos of a Life]
Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00521
Date: 1865–1871
Genre: poetry
Physical Description: 1 leaf, handwritten
View images: 1
Content: A cancelled poetry manuscript that is related to "Inscription," the prefatory poem of the 1867 edition of Leaves of Grass, which was later revised as "Small the Theme of My Chant." Other manuscripts held at Dartmouth and the Library of Congress (Charles E. Feinberg) open with the same revised line, though the published poem does not. An image of the verso is unavailable.



Whitman Archive Title: [The best of the two Introductions]
Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00514
Date: 1860–1865
Genre: prose
Physical Description: 8 leaves, handwritten
View images: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15
Content: One of a series of draft introductions Whitman prepared for Leaves of Grass, but which were never printed during Whitman's lifetime. Though this introduction was not printed as a complete and distinct piece until collected by Clifton Joseph Furness in Walt Whitman's Workshop (1928), portions of this draft were used in Democratic Vistas (1871). An image of the verso of the final leaf is unavailable.



Whitman Archive Title: [Thuswise it comes]
Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00516
Date: 1860–1867
Genre: poetry
Physical Description: 3 leaves, handwritten
View images: 1 | 2 | 3
Content: One of a series of draft introductions Whitman prepared for Leaves of Grass, but which were never printed during Whitman's lifetime. This particular introduction, composed entirely in verse, is most closely related to "Inscriptions," which first appeared in the 1867 edition of Leaves of Grass. However, no lines from this manuscript can be directly linked to any part of "Inscriptions." No other relationship to Whitman's published work is known.



Whitman Archive Title: [sea—cabbage]
Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00093
Repository Title: sea-cabbage
Date: 1855—1860
Genre: poetry
Physical Description: 1 leaf, handwritten
View images: 1
Content: A list of words and notes, mostly related to the sea. The last line of this manuscript is similar to a line Whitman used in "Miracles." Compare the draft line, "sound of walking barefoot ankle deep in the edge of the water," with the published line, "or wade with naked feet along the beach, just in the edge of the water." "Miracles" first appeared in the 1856 edition of Leaves of Grass under the title, "Poem of Perfect Miracles."



Whitman Archive Title: [writing letters, by the bed-side]
Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00253
Date: 1863–1864
Genre: prose
Physical Description: 1 leaf, handwritten
View images: 1
Content: A partial draft of "Our Wounded and Sick Soldiers—Visits Among Army Hospitals, At Washington, on the Field, and here in New-York," first published in the New York Times, 11 December 1864. Though parts of "Our Wounded and Sick Soldiers" were partially reprinted in the New York Weekly Graphic (1874), Memoranda During the War (1876), and Specimen Days (1882), the portion which appears in this draft was not reprinted until after Whitman's death in The Wound Dresser (1898). An image of the verso is unavailable.



Whitman Archive Title: seems perpetually goading
Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00090
Repository Title: ? seems perpetually goading me
Date: 1840s or early 1850s
Genre: prose
Physical Description: 1 leaf, handwritten
View images: 1
Content: A manuscript about "corruption," "putridity," and "maggots" growing out of the "too richly manured manured earth," with no known relation to any of Whitman's published works. Edward Grier posits that this manuscript was written in the 1840s or early 1850s (Notebooks and Unpublished Prose Manuscripts [New York: New York University Press, 1984], 1:156). The manuscript is pasted down, making the verso inaccessible.



Whitman Archive Title: tainting the best of the
Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00524
Repository Title: Ms. leaf recto (tainting the best of the rich orchard ...)
Date: Before or early in 1855
Genre: prose
Physical Description: 1 leaf, handwritten
View images: 1 | 2
Content: This manuscript is similar in subject to a line from the poem eventually titled "I Sing the Body Electric." On the back of this leaf (nyp.00079), Whitman drafted trial lines of the poem that was eventually titled "Song of Myself." Based on this and the handwriting, Edward Grier dates this manuscript to before or early in 1855 (Notebooks and Unpublished Prose Manuscripts [New York: New York University Press, 1984], 1:179). This manuscript is glued to another manuscript (nyp.00523) that also features lines of prose.



Whitman Archive Title: vain the mastadon retreats beneath
Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00079
Date: Between 1850 and 1855
Genre: poetry
Physical Description: 1 leaf, 18.5 by 19.7 cm. (irregular), handwritten
View images: 1 | 2
Content: Whitman probably drafted this manuscript between 1850 and 1855 as he was composing the first (1855) edition of Leaves of Grass. Lines from the manuscript appear in the first poem of that edition, eventually titled "Song of Myself." On the reverse are two prose notes, nyp.00523 and nyp.00524.




Restrictions: Access to the collection is restricted to qualified scholars and researchers through the Office of Special Collections, Room 316, Humanites and Social Sciences Library, New York Public Library. Requests for reproduction and/or permission to quote must be made in writing to the Curator and be accompanied by Estate permission.

Alternative Format: Digital images of some items are available in the "Manuscripts" section of the Archive.

Preferred Citation:  To identify this catalog as a source, see the Archive's "Conditions of Use" page.


Repository Contact Information:

New York Public Library
Humanities and Social Sciences Library
Room 320
5th Avenue and 42nd Street
New York, NY 10018-2788


Comments?

Published Works | In Whitman's Hand | Life & Letters | Commentary | Resources | Pictures & Sound

Support the Archive | About the Archive

Distributed under a Creative Commons License. Matt Cohen, Ed Folsom, & Kenneth M. Price, editors.