Published Works


About this Item

Title: The American

Creator: Susan Belasco

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

Whitman Archive ID: per.00155

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

Whitman published two first printings of poems in the American (1880-1900), a weekly magazine published in Philadelphia. Designed to compete with the national weeklies like the Nation, the American, edited by William R. Balch and Robert Ellis Thompson, was a journal of politics and literature. Whitman preferred to publish in national magazines, but the editors of the American were eager to take his work, even reprinting "Patrolling Barnegat," which had first appeared in Harper's Monthly Magazine (April 1881). In the fall of 1880, Balch accepted "My Picture-Gallery" and paid Whitman $5.00 for the poem. Whitman later sent "A Summer Invocation" (later "Thou Orb Aloft Full-Dazzling") to the American, after Harper's rejected it. In a note in a journal in May 1881, Whitman explained that "the editor said he returned it because his readers wouldn't understand any meaning to it." In his journal for June 2, 1881, he recorded that he received $12.00 for the poem.


Mott, Frank Luther. A History of American Magazines, 1865-1885. Vol. 3. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1938.

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

Whitman, Walt. Daybooks and Notebooks. Edited by William White. Vol. 1. New York: New York University Press, 1978.

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


"My Picture-Gallery." The American, 30 October 1880, 39

"A Summer Invocation." The American, 14 June 1881, 120


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