Published Works


About this Item

Title: The Philadelphia Press

Creator: Susan Belasco

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

Whitman Archive ID: per.00171

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

Established in 1857 by John W. Forney, the Philadelphia Press was an important and influential newspaper during the last decades of the nineteenth century, famous for its attention to local issues, such as inadequate water mains that posed serious problems for firefighters in the city. From late 1879 through late 1887, Whitman published nineteen works in the Press, including poems, articles, letters, as well as a version of a speech Whitman gave on Abraham Lincoln in Philadelphia on April 15, 1880, "The Martyr President: The Good Gray Poet's Personal Recollections of Him." The poems Whitman published in the Press celebrate people and public events. "What Best I See in Thee" honors General Ulysses S. Grant and "Red Jacket (From Aloft)" honors Red Jacket (1750–1830), the leader of the Iroquois who supported the United States in the War of 1812. "If I Should Need to Name, O Western World" celebrates national elections. As Whitman wrote in his Diary in Canada, "I like well the fact of all these national elections—have written a little poem about it." "Ah, Not This Granite Dead and Cold" commemorates the completion and dedication of the Washington Monument on February 22, 1885. Whitman's final appearance in the Press came a few months after his death. On October 23, 1892, the Press published Whitman's early story, "The Tomb Blossoms," which first appeared in the United States Magazine and Democratic Review in January 1842.


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.

Pannapacker, William. "Philadelphia, Pennsylvania." In Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, edited by J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings. New York: Garland Publishing, 1998.

Whitman, Walt. Daybooks and Notebooks. Edited by William White. Vol. 3. 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.


"What Best I See in Thee." The Philadelphia Press, 17 December 1879, 8

"Red Jacket (From Aloft)." The Philadelphia Press, 10 October 1884, 4

"If I Should Need to Name, O Western World." The Philadelphia Press, 26 October 1884, 8

"Ah, Not This Granite Dead and Cold." The Philadelphia Press, 22 February 1885, 4


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