In Whitman's Hand

Annotations and Marginalia

Walt Whitman was an extensive reader, and like many of us, he kept notes—in the margins, on scraps of paper, and in notebooks—about his reading. This section of the Archive offers a growing collection of such documents written and drawn upon by America's most famous poet. From classical rhetoric to the poetry of Tennyson, from Persian mysticism to nineteenth-century phrenological journals, the influences on Whitman's work were historically deep and culturally diverse. With support from the Humanities Reference and Resources program at the National Endowment for the Humanities, we have catalogued and begun to make freely available in digital form documents with significant annotations that are identifiably in Whitman's hand. We have focused on Whitman's notes that comment on other writers' works, whether "annotations" (i.e. notes entirely in manuscript) or "marginalia" (i.e. manuscript notes in the margins of a printed text by another author, such as a book or clipping from a periodical). Drafts leading to Whitman's original compositions, whether poetry or prose, are treated in other sections of the Archive.

The documents are grouped according to whether they are annotations or marginalia. In most cases, the only pages transcribed are those that include notes in Whitman's hand. In the case of documents listed as marginalia, the title reflects the title of the base document, where possible. When this information is not known, the title of the document is based on the first several words of Whitman's notes on the page. All annotations document titles are based on the first several words on the page. Where we use colors in the display to represent textual features like writing in Whitman's hand or pasted-on text, we provide a color key in the document metadata. Because Whitman at times made marks on running heads and other common print features, we have preserved them in our transcriptions in this section of the Archive. Since it can be difficult to determine whether Whitman was responsible for underlining or bracketing, we have described such marks as "highlighting." For further discussion of editorial decisions related to the marginalia and annotations, see our statement of editorial policy.

Viewing all documents (117)


TitleDate (not before)
A Defence of the Christian Doctrines of the Society of Friends1838
Addison's Ode to Deity1838
Tomb of the Martyrs1841
The History of Long Island1843
Longfellow's Poets and Poetry of Europe1846
Robert Southey1847
A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers1849
A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers1849
Christopher Under Canvass1849
Report of the Special Committee1849
The Vanity and the Glory of Literature1849
The Slavonians and Eastern Europe1849
Robert Chambers1850
Lessing's Laocoön1851
A Sermon Preached in the Central Reformed Protestant Dutch Church1851
Modern English Poets1851
Imagination and Fact1852
Ascent of Mount Popocatapetl1854
The Indians in American Art1856
The Fair Pilot of Loch Uribol1872
Mrs. Siddons as Lady Macbeth1878
The Poet Laureate as Philosopher and Peer1884
Occasional Pieces of Poetry1885
The Tragedies of Euripedes1889
The Ruins, or, Meditation on the Revolutions of Empires1890
Typical American Canoes at the Annual Meet in Peconic Bay1890


TitleDate (not before)
good statement1819
Edmund Spenser: born about 1553—died 1599.1835
Memory.—Nothing makes this faculty1835
The mountain‑ash1835
With all Macpherson's restorations1835
The Social Contract1837
The idea (illustrated by Kant)1837
No patriotism1838
Egyptian religion1838
Long Island1838
Make a piece1838
New Amsterdam1838
Tacitus—of the Germans1838
the story of Dantes "Journey Through Hell"1838
Author of the Neibelungen Leid1838
Hans Sachs1838
Poverty is also added1839
Richter born 1763 died 18251840
(Independent & Chinese)1840
He dates the origin of mankind1840
Of Insanity1840
Richard Burbage1840
name of New York City1841
"lux" light?1845
Africa (The Equator1845
Mithras, the grand deity1845
An Ossianic Paragraph1846
Anacreon's Midnight Visitor1847
He is a precursor1847
More about William Blake1847
Principal products1847
The English Circle1847
Diderot (Dennis Diderot)1849
"Church" article1850
America has been called1850
Henry 8th1850
His earliest printed plays1850
How would it do1850
Niembsch Lenau1850
Rousseau's Confessions1850
The Nibelungen1850
Assyria & Egypt1850
Even now Jasmund1850
Scythia (as Used by the Greeks)1850
The Teutonic includes1850
The florid rich1850
Dryden 1631 to 17011853
Lafontaine, born about 16211853
1854 Alexander Smith's poems1854
Barthold Niebuhr1854
Frederick Schlegel 1772–18291854
Immortality was realized1854
Our own account of this poem, "the German Iliad"1854
The celebrated old German poem1854
1855—I have looked over Gerald Massey's Poems1855
Comparison between Homer's Iliad1855
Goethe—from about 17501855
Russian serfs1855
What are inextricable from the British poets1855
British in China1855
the town of Borgo1855
Louis 14th, born 16381855
Goethe's Complete works1856
Specimen Days Grisi and Mario1856
A poem theme Be happy1856
Oliver Goldsmith1857
Frances Wright1857
Torquato Tasso1859
Abraham Lincoln1865
Mem. The Saturday1867
The Oregonese1870
Elias Hicks Contemporaries1870
for Mulleins1876
Walt Whitman Sarnia1880
earliest spring wild flowers1881
Montaigne says1883
More Books1884
73 Specimen Days1884
Don't forget the Lincoln Essay1885
Of all the western stars1885
Carlyle's words1888
Louis XIV1889
Old Fellows1889
track gangs1890
Books of WW1890


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