April 3, 2015 America's Original Bohemians Are Subject of Book Discussion
Walt Whitman and Others Gathered in a New York Saloon
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In the mid-19th century, Pfaff’s Saloon in Manhattan hosted a circle of radicals who changed American society and helped set poet Walt Whitman on the path to immortality.
In “Rebel Souls: Walt Whitman and America’s First Bohemians” (Da Capo Press, 2014), author Justin Martin tells the story of this colorful group of artists – regulars at Pfaff’s – who are “rightly considered American’s original bohemians.”
Martin will discuss and sign his book, which is based on his research in the Library’s Manuscript Division, on Tuesday, April 21, at noon in the Mary Pickford Theater, located on the third floor of the James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. This Books & Beyond event is co-sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress and the Library’s Manuscript Division. It is free and open to the public; no tickets are required.
Besides a young Whitman, the circle included actor Edwin Booth, trailblazing stand–up comic Artemus Ward, psychedelic drug pioneer and author Fitz Hugh Ludlow and brazen performer Adah Menken, famous for her Naked Lady routine. Central to their times, the artists managed to forge connections with Ralph Waldo Emerson, Mark Twain and even Abraham Lincoln.
Justin Martin is the author of three previous biographies: “Greenspan: The Man Behind Money,” “Nader: Crusader, Spoiler, Icon” and “Genius of Place: The Life of Frederick Law Olmsted.” As one of the few journalists to gain access to Greenspan, Martin produced a best-selling biography of the secretive Federal Reserve chairman, which was selected as a notable book by The New York Times Book Review. Martin’s Nader biography served as a primary source for “An Unreasonable Man,” an Academy Award–nominated documentary. “Genius of Place,” the first full-scale biography of Olmsted, received glowing reviews nationally. Martin’s articles have appeared in a variety of publications, including Fortune, Newsweek and the San Francisco Chronicle. In 2011, he participated in the National Book Festival and in the Center for the Book’s Books & Beyond series.
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