Whitman, Walt

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Walt Whitman (1819-1892), noted American poet, essayist, and journalist, was author of Leaves of Grass in which the poem "Spirit that Form'd this Scene" appears beginning in 1881. Writing in 1902, Oscar Lovell Triggs notes that Leaves of Grass developed over time, beginning with its first appearance in 1855 (see Oscar Lovell Triggs, "The Growth of "Leaves of Grass," The Complete Writings of Walt Whitman (1902), 101-21). Triggs notes that the poems of every edition were written on the open road. The 1881 edition, published by James R. Osgood of Boston, was a complete revision of not only the poems themselves but also of the final sequence of the collection of 318 poems. In an article published by the Boston Globe, (13 August 1881), Whitman wrote:

"It is now, I believe, twenty-six years since I began to work upon the structure ; and this edition will complete the design which I had in mind when I began to write. The whole affair is like one of those architectural edifices, some of which were hundreds of years in building, and the designer of which had the whole idea in mind from the first. His plans were pretty ambitious, and as means or time permits, he adds part after part, perhaps at quite wide intervals. To a casual observer it looks in the course of its construction odd enough. Only after the whole is completed one catches the ideas which inspired the designer, in whose mind the relation of each part to the whole had existed all along. That is the way it has been with my book. It has been twenty-six years building. There have been seven different hitches at it. Seven different times have parts of the edifice been constructed - sometimes in Brooklyn, sometimes in Washington, sometimes in Boston, and at other places. The book has been built partially in every part of the United States. And this edition is the completed edifice." ( The Complete Writings of Walt Whitman, 119).

Charles E. Feinberg (1899-1988), president of the Feinberg Foundation and donor of MS 60, was a collector of literary manuscripts of both English and American authors, including material pertaining to Walt Whitman. Feinberg began his collection of Whitman material, including letters, manuscripts, and books, in 1919. He lectured on Whitman at universities throughout the country. Feinberg served as an honorary vice president of the American Friends of Hebrew University for 30 years. For Walt Whitman A Register of His Papers in the Charles E. Feinberg Collection in the Library of Congress, see: http://www.loc.gov/rr/mss/text/feinberg-whitman.html. For a brief description of the Feinberg Collection, see William White, "The Feinberg Collection," The Long-Islander (May 30, 1963): section 2 page 8.

From the guide to the Walt Whitman "Spirit that Form'd this Scene" Reproductions of Drafts (MS 60), 1881, (University of Colorado at Boulder Libraries. Special Collections Dept.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Appleton-Century mss., 1846-1962 Lilly Library (Indiana University, Bloomington)
referencedIn Walt Whitman papers, 1854-1892 The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.
referencedIn Woodberry Poetry Room (Harvard College Library) poetry readings, 1931- (ongoing). Woodberry Poetry Room, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University
referencedIn Guide to the Daily Worker and Daily World Photographs Collection, 1920-2001 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
referencedIn Holland Collection of Literary Letters (MS 168), 1850-1880, 1872-1878 University of Colorado at Boulder Libraries. Special Collections Dept.
referencedIn Nicolas Slonimsky Collection, 1873-1997, (bulk 1920-1990) Library of Congress. Music Division
referencedIn Donald and Katharine Foley Collection of Penguin Books, 1935-1965 Bancroft Library
referencedIn Gay Wilson Allen Papers, 1801-1988 David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
referencedIn Gail and Stephen Rudin autograph collection, 1841-1993. Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.
referencedIn Royal Institution (Great Britain). John Tyndall Papers.
referencedIn Feinberg, Charles E., Collection of Walt Whitman, 1860-1952 University of West Florida Libraries
creatorOf Walt Whitman "Spirit that Form'd this Scene" Reproductions of Drafts (MS 60), 1881 University of Colorado at Boulder Libraries. Special Collections Dept.
referencedIn Clarence Louis Frank Gohdes Papers, and undated, bulk, 1811-1990s, 1905-1981 David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
referencedIn MacCarthy mss., 1863-1991 Lilly Library (Indiana University, Bloomington)
referencedIn Donald and Katharine Foley Collection of Penguin Books, post 1965 Bancroft Library
referencedIn Little Leather Library Collection, 1920-1924 Special Collections, Robert E. Kennedy Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
correspondedWith Allen, Gay Wilson, 1903- person
associatedWith Communist Party of the United States of America. corporateBody
correspondedWith D. Appleton-Century Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Feinberg, Charles E. person
associatedWith Foley, Donald L. person
associatedWith Foley, Katharine person
associatedWith Foley, Katharine person
associatedWith Gohdes, Clarence, 1901 person
associatedWith Holland, J. G. (Josiah Gilbert), 1819-1881 person
associatedWith Little Leather Library Corporation of New York corporateBody
associatedWith MacCarthy, Desmond, 1877-1952 person
associatedWith Slonimsky, Nicolas, 1894-1995 person
correspondedWith Tyndale, Hector person
correspondedWith Tyndall, John person
associatedWith Whitman, Walt, 1819-1892 person
associatedWith Woodberry Poetry Room (Harvard College Library). corporateBody
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