In Whitman's Hand


About this Item

Title: Iron works

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: About 1855 to 1856

Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00021

Source: The Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature, New York Public Library . Transcribed from digital images of the original. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of manuscripts, see our statement of editorial policy.

Editorial note: This manuscript was probably written around 1855. It includes language similar to lines in the poems ultimately titled "A Song for Occupations" and "Song of the Broad-Axe" (1856). A version of "A Song for Occupations" first appeared in the 1855 Leaves of Grass, but the line associated with this manuscript was not added to the poem until the 1856 edition. At one point, this manuscript likely formed part of Whitman's cultural geography scrapbook. The manuscript has been pasted down, so an image of the reverse is not currently available.

Contributors to digital file: Nicole Gray, Ashlyn Stewart, and Kevin McMullen

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Iron works

There is a forge in the Adirondack mountains—the "Adirondack forge"—To get to it you land at Crown Point, on Lake Champlain and go back 40 miles


A forge would be a large rude building with from one to a dozen or more ^charcoal fires—on which the ore is thrown, and melted—the iron runs down and settles at the bottom, like a bushel-basket-shaped lump—a "loup" or "loop," they call it—

The men are around these fires with huge crowbars—they have to tell the state of the melting by the "feel" of the ore and iron, with these crowbars.


The forge-fires in the mountains,^...the men around, trying feeling the melt, ^ —feeling with ^huge crowbars,"

The ^work of colliers and and miners,



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