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Draft page of Leaves of Grass.
Walt Whitman.
Draft page from Leaves of Grass
, 1855, section 14, p. 41.
Manuscript Division.
Library of Congress.

The Library's Exhibitions pages features digitized versions of present and past physical exhibits held at the Library since the early 1990s. Many exhibits features works of poetry. Below is a list of exhibits which includes poetry-related materials, including, when possible, the individual pages on which the materials appear.

Online Exhibitions: Poetry Resources

American Treasures of the Library of Congress

Anne Bradstreet

Anne Bradstreet was the first woman poet to be published in colonial America.

Robert Frost's Poetry

Robert Frost wrote a new poem entitled "Dedication" for delivery at the inauguration of John F. Kennedy in 1961, but never read it, because the sun's glare upon the snow blinded Frost from seeing the text. Instead, he recited "The Gift Outright" from memory.

Langston Hughes Requests Loan for Tuition

In 1925, Langston Hughes requested a loan from the NAACP to pay his college tuition.

Archibald MacLeish, "Ars Poetica"

On March 14, 1925, poet and former Librarian of Congress Archibald MacLeish drafted what became his most famous poem, "Ars Poetica"--the ultimate expression of American style "art-for-art's-sake."

Edna St. Vincent Millay, "Renascence"

Millay's publication of "Renascence" in 1912 as a Vassar undergraduate gained her instant recognition as a poet.

Phillis Wheatley

The gifted young black poet Phillis Wheatley (ca. 1753-1784) was celebrated as "the extraordinary poetical genius" of colonial New England even before her compilation of poems, Poems on Various Subject, Religious and Moral, was published in September 1773.

Walt Whitman and the Civil War

Walt Whitman made dozens of small notebooks from paper and ribbon to carry with him as he visited wounded Civil War soldiers in Washington area hospitals between 1863 and 1865.

A Whitman Notebook

The Library holds the world's largest Walt Whitman manuscript collection, which numbers 20,000 items and includes many original notebooks.

A Century of Creativity: The MacDowell Colony 1907-2007

This exhibit on one of the best-known U.S. artists' colonies includes displays related to Edwin Arlington Robinson's and Galway Kinnell's experiences there.

The Floating World of Ukiyo-E

Poetry, Narrative, and Surinomo (scroll down to section)

Includes a discussion of the emergence of haikai and images of surimono, privately commissioned prints which usually paired poetic texts with images and were made to commemorate special events.

From Haven to Home: 350 Years of Jewish Life in America


Includes an image of poet Penina Moise’s Fancy's Sketch Book, the first book by a Jewish woman in the United States.

A Century of Immigration: 1820-1924

Includes Emma Lazarus’s poem “The New Colossus”

I Do Solemnly Swear…” Inaugural Materials from the Collections of the Library of Congress

Inaugural Poem printed in the Chronicle Junior on a press in a wagon during Lincoln's inaugural parade, March 4, 1865

The Poetry of Robert Frost

View a holograph manuscript of "Dedication," which Frost intended to read at the inauguration of John F. Kennedy in 1961.

John Bull and Uncle Sam: Four Centuries of British American Relations

Common Language, Separate Voices

Explore exhibit highlights that focus on the literary exchange between Britain and the United States. Read a draft of W. H. Auden's "Musée des Beaux Arts," a holograph manuscript of Robert Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening," and other poems.

Language of the Land: Journeys Into Literary America

Language of the Land: Journey into Literary America examines America's literary heritage through maps, photographs, and the works of American authors and poets from a variety of periods.

Revising Himself: Walt Whitman and Leaves of Grass

This exhibition 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.

With Malice Toward None: The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Exhibition

Lincoln’s Childhood Sum Book

View a surviving page from Abraham Lincoln’s homemade student sum book. The page includes a handwritten piece of doggerel written by Lincoln.



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  April 5, 2016
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