Published Works


About this Item

Title: The New-York Times

Creator: Susan Belasco

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

Whitman Archive ID: per.00167

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

Whitman had a long and complicated relationship with the Times, which was founded in 1851 by Henry Jarvis Raymond, George Jones, and Edward B. Wesley as a daily penny paper. The Times quickly gained a large circulation and earned a reputation as an outstanding newspaper. Whitman thought highly of the paper, calling it in an article for the Brooklyn Daily Times in 1857 "the leading journal." On May 19, 1860, however, the Times published a negative review of the 1860 edition of Leaves of Grass, castigating Whitman for his style and substance. But a month later, Whitman's first publication in the Times appeared; his poem "The Errand-Bearers" was published on June 27, 1860. The poem commemorates the first Japanese diplomatic mission to the United States, an event which the Times covered extensively. In January 1860, more than 60 Japanese officials traveled to the U.S. on an American ship, the Powhatan, to meet with President James Buchanan and ratify the U.S.–Japan Treaty of Amity and Commerce. The treaty was signed on May 22, 1860, and a huge parade was held on June 16, 1857 in New York City to celebrate the ratification and welcome the delegation. Whitman attended the parade, wrote "The Errand-Bearers," and sent it to the Times. During the Civil War, the Times published several of Whitman's articles on the war and his experiences in Washington, and he later revised these for inclusion in Memoranda During the War (1875–1876), Specimen Days & Collect (1882–83), and The Wound-Dresser (1898). Whitman's last appearance in the Times during his lifetime was the self-promotional "Walt Whitman Ill," subtitled "Too much spring air has given the poet the grip." The account of the poet's brief illness and recovery was actually written by Whitman himself and published anonymously April 6, 1890.


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Graffin, Walter. "New York Times." In Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, edited by J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings. New York: Garland Publishing, 1998.

Lee, Alfred McClung. The Daily Newspaper in America. New York: The MacMillan Company, 1937.

Loving, Jerome. Walt Whitman: The Song of Himself. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999.

Mott, Frank Luther. American Journalism a History: 1690-1960. 3rd ed. New York: Macmillan Company, 1995.

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

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


"The Errand-Bearers." The New-York Times, 27 June 1860, 2


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