Published Works


About this Item

Title: Truth

Creator: Susan Belasco

Whitman Archive ID: per.00189

Source: Written for the Walt Whitman Archive. First published on the Archive in 2008. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the periodical poems, see our statement of editorial policy.

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

Whitman wrote "Old Chants" in late 1890, telling his friend Richard Maurice Bucke on November 18, 1890 that "I wanted to bow down to the great old poems more deferentially than ever." Rejected by the Arena and Scribner’s, "Old Chants" was finally published by Truth. Established in 1881, Truth began as an undistinguished weekly magazine about life in New York City. In 1891, however, new financial backers and a well-known new editor, Blakely Hall, recreated the magazine as a glossy, lavishly illustrated magazine of humor, fiction, reviews, poetry, and cartoons. The magazine became known for the printing of three lithographs in each issue, especially for increasingly daring portraits of actresses and women in bathing suits. In the same month that Lippincott’s Magazine featured Whitman, the March 19, 1891 issue of Truth also featured the poet with a colored lithograph portrait, "Old Chants," and an interview conducted by J. Alfred Stoddart.


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.

West, Richard. "Truth (New York)." Periodyssey.

Whitman, Walt. The Correspondence. Edited by Edwin Haviland Miller. Vol. 5. New York: New York University Press, 1977.

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


"Old Chants." Truth, 19 March 1891, 11


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