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
A Sermon Preached in the Central Reformed Protestant Dutch Church1851
A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers1849
A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers1849
Addison's Ode to Deity1838
Ascent of Mount Popocatapetl1854
Christopher Under Canvass1849
Imagination and Fact1852
Lessing's Laocoön1851
Longfellow's Poets and Poetry of Europe1846
Modern English Poets1851
Mrs. Siddons as Lady Macbeth1878
Occasional Pieces of Poetry1885
Report of the Special Committee1849
Robert Chambers1850
Robert Southey1847
The Fair Pilot of Loch Uribol1872
The History of Long Island1843
The Indians in American Art1856
The Poet Laureate as Philosopher and Peer1884
The Ruins, or, Meditation on the Revolutions of Empires1890
The Slavonians and Eastern Europe1849
The Tragedies of Euripedes1889
The Vanity and the Glory of Literature1849
Tomb of the Martyrs1841
Typical American Canoes at the Annual Meet in Peconic Bay1890


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


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