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He Bought A Dismal Swamp

The great American poet Walt Whitman wrote in "You, Whoever You Are":

'Eskimo Mother with Child on Back,' ca. 1906 Walt Whitman's cardboard butterfly

You, whoever you are!...

All you continentals of Asia, Africa, Europe, Australia, indifferent of place!
All you on the numberless islands of the archipelagoes of the sea!
All you of centuries hence when you listen to me!
All you each and everywhere whom I specify not, but include just the same!
Health to you! good will to you all, from me and America sent!
Each of us is inevitable,
Each of us is limitless?each of us with his or her right upon the earth,
Each of us allow'd the eternal purports of the earth,
Each of us here as divinely as any is here.

The poem is a fitting introduction to the Immigration feature in the Learning Page Web site. Here you can read the stories of America's first wave of immigration ? that of the land's original settlers, the Native Americans, who came to North America from Asia and spoke more than 300 languages. There are also histories of immigrants from Africa, Germany and Ireland, with more histories to come.

The Learning Page is the Library's Web site especially designed for teachers and students, but lifelong learners of any age will find much to delight and inform in areas such as "Features and Activities," "Collection Connections," which will help you find the most interesting items in the more than 120 thematic presentations in the American Memory Web site, and more.

And if you are a teacher, don't miss the "Lesson Plans" and "Professional Development" sections, which offer helpful ways to incorporate the Library's extraordinary primary sources into your classroom.

The celebratory poems of Walt Whitman have been favorites of Americans since before the Civil War. Four of Whitman's notebooks can be viewed in the American Memory collection "Poet at Work." You can also read about the Library's rediscovery of these notebooks in 1995 and how they have been conserved by specialists in the Library's Preservation Directorate.

One of Whitman's most beloved poems, "'O Captain! My Captain!'," written in memory of Abraham Lincoln in 1865, can be viewed with Whitman's handwritten corrections in the "American Treasures" exhibition. Walt Whitman published the poem to immediate acclaim in the Saturday Press and saw it widely anthologized during his lifetime. Although he was one of the most innovative of American poets, Whitman in this poem used rhymed, rhythmically regular verse to create a somber yet exalted tone. Restlessly creative, Whitman continued to revise the poem. This is a proof sheet of the poem, readied for publication in 1888, with corrections. The Library holds the largest collection of Walt Whitman materials, featuring more than 20,000 manuscript items alone.

"American Treasures" features the most interesting and rare items from the Library's collections that tell the story of American history in a variety of formats.

A. Lomen Bros., photographers. "Eskimo Mother with Child on Back," ca. 1906. Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction information: Reproduction No: [none]. Call No.: LOT 11453-2, no. 7

B. Walt Whitman's cardboard butterfly. Rare Book and Special Collection Division. Reproduction information: Contact Rare Book Division at

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