Published Works


About this Item

Title: New York World

Creator: Susan Belasco

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

Whitman Archive ID: per.00183

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

The New York World, founded by Alexander Cummings in 1860, was bought by Joseph Pulitzer, a Hungarian born publisher, in 1883. In just a few years, Pulitzer made the paper among the largest in the United States by publishing compelling human interest and sensational news stories, by printing comics (the first to use color), and by employing the famous Nelly Bly as a reporter. On May 31, 1889, days of heavy rains caused the collapse of a dam in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. The flood destroyed the town and over two thousand people were killed. The flood was front-page news for days, and the New York World, among the first newspapers to send a reporter to the scene, offered Whitman $25.00 for a poem about the tragedy. "A Voice from Death" appeared on the front page of the newspaper on June 7, 1889. Although some of Whitman’s works were occasionally reprinted in the New York World, "A Voice from Death" is evidently the only poem that first appeared in this paper.


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

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

Paneth, Donald. The Encyclopedia of American Journalism. New York: Facts on File, Inc., 1983.

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 Voice from Death." New York World, 7 June 1889


Published Works | In Whitman's Hand | Life & Letters | Commentary | Resources | Pictures & Sound

Support the Archive | About the Archive

Distributed under a Creative Commons License. Ed Folsom & Kenneth M. Price, editors.