Published Works


About this Item

Title: The New-York Saturday Press

Creator: Susan Belasco

Publication information: Written for the Walt Whitman Archive. First published on the Archive in 2008.

Whitman Archive ID: per.00105

Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, Susan Belasco, and Kevin McMullen

Founded on October 23, 1858 by Henry Clapp, Jr., the Saturday Press was the unofficial weekly newspaper of the circle of artists and writers who frequented Pfaff's Beer Cellar in New York City. But the paper, designed as a miscellany of news and culture, also gained national prominence, and in the minds of many readers, it was New York's response to the Boston-based Atlantic Monthly. Clapp, a friend of Whitman's, invited a variety of writers to contribute, including those who were not frequenters of Pfaff's, such as William Dean Howells and John Greenleaf Whittier. But he struggled with financial problems and had to suspend publication of the paper on December 15, 1860. Clapp revived it again briefly from August 5, 1865 through June 2, 1866. While the paper lasted, however, Whitman was not only a frequent contributor but also the subject of several articles and even parodies that appeared in its pages. Clapp also printed numerous advertisements for the 1860 edition of Leaves of Grass. The publication of "A Child's Reminiscence" on the first page of the paper on December 24, 1859, was accompanied by an editorial note ghostwritten by Whitman which encouraged readers to consider the poem "as our Christmas or New Year's present to them." The publication of the poem prompted a strongly negative review by a writer for the Cincinnati Daily Commercial on December 28, 1859. Whitman responded with "All about a Mockingbird" in which he offered his defense of his poetry. All of the furor only served to call attention to Whitman, and he continued to publish a series of poems in the Press.


Bawcom, Amy M. "Saturday Press." In Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, edited by J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings. New York: Garland Publishing, 1998.

Belasco, Susan. "Walt Whitman's Periodical Poetry." American Periodicals 14 (2004): 247-259.

Killingsworth, M. Jimmie. "The Saturday Press." In American Literary Magazines: The Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, edited by Edward E. Chielens. New York: Greenwood Press, 1986.

Myerson, Joel. Walt Whitman: A Descriptive Bibliography. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1993.

Reynolds, David. Walt Whitman's America: A Cultural Biography. New York: Vintage, 1995.

Whitman, Walt. Leaves of Grass: Comprehensive Reader's Edition. Edited by Harold W. Blodgett and Sculley Bradley. New York: New York University Press, 1965.


"A Child's Reminiscence." New-York Saturday Press, 24 December 1859, 1

"You and Me and To-Day." New-York Saturday Press, 14 January 1860:, 2

"Poemet [Of him I love day and night]." New-York Saturday Press, 28 January 1860, 2

"Poemet [That shadow, my likeness]." New-York Saturday Press, 4 February 1860, 2

"Leaves." New-York Saturday Press, 11 February 1860, 2

"O Captain! My Captain!." New-York Saturday Press, 4 November 1865, 218


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