Published Works


About this Item

Title: New York Leader

Creator: Susan Belasco

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

Whitman Archive ID: per.00193

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

From 1860–1862, Whitman was primarily a freelance journalist, writing for several newspapers. In late 1861, he published two poems in the New York Leader, a weekly newspaper that ran from 1856 to 1871 and was edited by John Clancy. "Little Bells Last Night" heralds the beginning of war and was later revised as "I Heard You Solemn Sweet Pipes of the Organ." The second poem, "Old Ireland," pays tribute to the over one and a half million Irish who emigrated to the United States from 1851–1860 in order to escape the widespread poverty and famine that resulted from a blight on the potato crops in Ireland from 1845–1849. Although Whitman published just two poems in the paper, from March 22, 1862 through May 17, 1862, he wrote a series of seven articles for the Leader. Under the collective title of City Photographs, the first four sketches concern conditions in the Broadway Hospital of New York City, especially for the wounded soldiers arriving from the frontlines of the Civil War. The last three sketches describe the entertainments and living conditions of the Bowery, a neighborhood in southern Manhattan, known for beer halls and brothels.


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

Whitman, Walt. "City Photographs." New York Leader, March 1862 to May 1862.

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


"Little Bells Last Night." New York Leader, 12 October 1861, [2]

"Old Ireland." New York Leader, 2 November 1861, [1]


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