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Walt Whitman: Online Resources at the Library of Congress

Compiled by Peter Armenti, Digital Reference Specialist

Walt Whitman, 1854
Walt Whitman (1854)
Feinberg/Whitman Collection.
Photographic print.
Prints and Photographs Division.
Reproduction Number:

Other Poetry Web Guides

The Library of Congress houses the largest archival collection of Walt Whitman materials in the world. As part of the Library's mission to make its resources available and useful to the American public, the Library has digitized a number of these materials, and has also created an array of online secondary sources that highlight Whitman's life and work. This guide compiles the many Whitman resources spread throughout the Library's Web site. In addition, it provides links to external Web sites on Walt Whitman, and a selected bibliography of significant Whitman publications.

Library of Congress Web Site | External Web Sites | Selected Bibliography

Library of Congress Website


Poet at Work: Recovered Notebooks from the Thomas Biggs Harned Walt Whitman Collection

This collection offers access to the four Walt Whitman Notebooks and a cardboard butterfly that disappeared from the Library of Congress in 1942.

Words and Deeds in American History: Selected Documents Celebrating the Manuscript Division's First 100 Years

This collection of ninety representative documents from the Library's Manuscript Division features two Whitman-related items:

Letter, Ralph Waldo Emerson to Walt Whitman extolling Whitman's poetry, July 21, 1855

Letter and corrected reprint of Walt Whitman's "O Captain, My Captain" with comments by author, February 9, 1888

The Nineteenth Century in Print: Periodicals

Search this collection of twenty-three popular 19th century periodicals using the phrase Walt Whitman to find relevant articles, essays, and reviews. Two search options are available: a descriptive information search that can be used to retrieve occurrences of Walt Whitman that appear in bibliographic records; and a full-text search that can be used to retrieve all occurrences of Walt Whitman in the full-text of the periodicals.


American Treasures of the Library of Congress

A digital presentation of some of the Library's most noted treasures. Sections featuring Walt Whitman include:

A Whitman Notebook

Keeping Memories

O Captain! My Captain!

Walt Whitman and the Civil War

Revising Himself: Walt Whitman and Leaves of Grass

This exhibition, created as a special presentation for American Treasures of the Library of Congress, traces the different occupations and preparations that led Whitman to become the author of Leaves of Grass, as well as his subsequent evolution as a poet.

Finding Aids to the Print Collections

The Library of Congress houses several major physical collections of Whitman materials that can be found in its Manuscript Division and Rare Book and Special Collections Division. These include:

Manuscript Division

Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman

Thomas Biggs Harned Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman Papers_ 1837-1957

Rare Book and Special Collections Division

Walt Whitman Collection


Topics in Chronicling America - Walt Whitman

Provides access to a sampling of articles about Whitman from historic newspapers in the Libary's Chronicling America: American Historic Newspapers digital collection. Use the Suggested Search Terms and Dates to find additional articles about Whitman in Chronicling America.

Prints and Photographs

Prints and Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC)

Conduct a keyword search of PPOC on the phrase Walt Whitman to find images of Walt Whitman, his residences, and other related photographs. A subject search on Walt Whitman restricts results primarily to images of Whitman.

Teacher and Educator Resources

Collection Connection: Poet at Work

Ideas for integrating material from the Poet at Work collection, which features four Walt Whitman notebooks, into the classroom.

Lyrical Legacy – "O Captain! My Captain"

Analyze Whitman's poem "O Captain! My Captain" as a historical document.

1900 American: Historical Voices, Poetic Visions

This lesson plan includes an Introduction to the Epic Poem Format which asks students to compare Whitman's Song of Myself to Hart Crane's The Bridge.

Thomas Hampson Teacher Institute

The Thomas Hampson Teacher Institute was designed to help educators use Library of Congress primary source materials to explore the legacy of American song and poetry in their classrooms. The online materials for the Teacher Institute feature two activities which incorporate items from the Library's digitized Whitman content:

Found poetry exercise

Using the Whitman notebooks as source material, students create a found poem.

Primary source investigation

Students can study this set of materials related to Walt Whitman to gain practice analyzing primary sources.

Wise Guide

A digital magazine designed to introduce users to the many fascinating, educational, and useful resources available on the Library's Web site. The Wise Guide include three articles which highlight Whitman resources:

Each of Us is Inevitable

The 'Parallel Lives' of Lincoln and Whitman

Whitman's Notebooks: A Mysterious WWII Disappearance and a Happy Homecoming

Today in History Features

May 31, 1819

Walt Whitman, American poet, journalist, and essayist, was born on May 31, 1819, in West Hills, New York.

February 9, 1888

On February 9, 1888, Walt Whitman penned a note to the publishers of The Riverside Literature Series No. 32 calling attention to mistakes in their recently printed version of his poem, "O Captain! My Captain!"


Lindsay Tuggle, "The Afterlives of Specimens: Science & Mourning in Whitman's America"

Karen Karbiener, "Walt Whitman, Rural New Yorker"

Daniel Mark Epstein on Walt Whitman's "The Death of Lincoln"

Lincoln and Whitman: Parallel Lives in Civil War Washington

Walt Whitman Birthday Celebration

Walt Whitman’s Elegy for Lincoln

Whitman and Place

Blog Posts

"A Fake Audio Butterfly"
Now See Hear! The National Audio-Visual Conservation Center Blog, October 9, 2014

Miscellaneous Items

I Hear America Singing

Includes the text of Whitman's poem "I Hear America Singing," as well as an introduction written by former Library of Congress poetry specialist David Kresh, and an audio recording of the poem by former U.S. poet laureate Billy Collins.

Library of Congress Information Bulletin

Search on Walt Whitman to return articles about past Whitman events and features at the Library, such as a feature article on the exhibition Revising Himself: Walt Whitman and Leaves of Grass.

Song of America Tour

The Song of America Tour was a celebration of creativity across America. The above Web site features an audio recording of renowned baritone Thomas Hampson singing Whitman's poem "Ethiopia Saluting the Colors," and also provides information about the poem's music arrangement.

Walt Whitman Salutes the New Republic Brazil

Includes the text of the poem "A Christmas Greeting."

Whitman and Nationalism

This page, part of the presentation The World of 1898: The Spanish-American War, includes excerpts from Whitman's writing that reflect national pride and confidence.

Link disclaimerExternal Web Sites

Academy of American Poets: Walt Whitman

A brief biography of Whitman, selected poems, and links to other Web sites of interest.

Modern American Poetry: Walt Whitman

Includes critical excerpts on selected Walt Whitman poems, including "I Hear American Singing" and "Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking."

PAL: Perspectives in American Literature: Walt Whitman

A research guide to Whitman's life and work that includes a selected bibliography of biographical and critical publications.

Walt Whitman and Slavery

Part of The Classroom Electric: Dickinson, Whitman, and American Culture, this site invites users to consider Whitman's treatment of race and slavery in "Song of Myself" and focuses in particular on two fugitive slave passages.

Walt Whitman Archive

A major online resource for Whitman Studies, the Walt Whitman Archive maintains facsimile and e-text versions of multiple editions of Leaves of Grass; a collection of criticism and reviews of Whitman's writings; an extended biographical essay on Whitman's life; an archive of Whitman images; and other resources of interest to teachers, students, scholars, and the general public.

Walt Whitman Birthplace

The official Web site of the Walt Whitman Birthplace Association (WWBA).

The Walt Whitman House in Camden, New Jersey

The official Web site of the Walt Whitman House in Camden, New Jersey.

Selected Bibliography

Allen, Gay W. The Solitary Singer. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985. [Catalog Record]

Asselineau, Roger. The Evolution of Walt Whitman. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1999. [Catalog      Record]

Belasco, Susan, Ed Folsom, and Kenneth M. Price, eds. Leaves of Grass: The Sesquicentennial      Essays. Lincoln : University of Nebraska Press, 2007. [Catalog Record]

"Bibliography of Scholarship." The Walt Whitman Archive. Eds. Ed Folsom and Kenneth M. Price. 4      June 2007 <>.

Blake, David Haven. Walt Whitman and the Culture of American Celebrity. New Haven: Yale University      Press, 2006. [Catalog Record]

Bloom, Harold, ed. Walt Whitman. New York : Bloom’s Literary Criticism, 2007. [Catalog Record]

Bohan, Ruth L.  Looking into Walt Whitman: American Art, 1850-1920. University Park, Pa.:      Pennsylvania State University Press, 2006. [Catalog Record]

Grossman, Jay. Reconstituting the American Renaissance: Emerson, Whitman, and the Politics of      Representation. Durham: Duke University Press, 2003. [Catalog Record]

Kaplan, Justin. Walt Whitman, A Life. New York: Perennial, 2003. [Catalog Record]

Killingsworth, M. Jimmie. The Cambridge Introduction to Walt Whitman. New York : Cambridge      University Press, 2007. [Catalog Record]

Killingsworth, M. Jimmie. Walt Whitman and the Earth: A Study in Ecopoetics. Iowa City: University of      Iowa Press, 2004. [Catalog Record]

Lemaster, J.R., and Donald D. Kummings. Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia. New York: Garland Pub.,      1998. [Catalog Record]

Myerson, Joel. Walt Whitman: A Descriptive Bibliography. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press,      1993. [Catalog Record]

Pannapacker, William. Revised Lives: Walt Whitman and Nineteenth-century Authorship. New York :      Routledge, 2004. [Catalog Record]

Price, Kenneth M. To Walt Whitman, America. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, c2004.      [Catalog Record]

Reynolds, David S. Walt Whitman. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2005. [Catalog Record]

Reynolds, David S. Walt Whitman's America: A Cultural Biography. New York: Knopf, 1995. [Catalog      Record]


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  October 10, 2014
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