Robert D. Farber University Archives & Special Collections, Brandeis University




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Other Writings and Publications

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         Leaves of Grass, though his best-known work, was not the only form in which Whitman published his poems—nor were the poems, however famous, the only thing he wrote.

         Arranged here is a selection of other editions of his work, including rare early printings of Drum-Taps, Two Rivulets, and November Boughs. Descriptive text follows images.

November Boughs
Two Rivulets
Whitman Diffracted: His Work as Published by Other Hands
An 1855-1856 Notebook Toward the Second Edition of Leaves of Grass
Proof sheet of “Passage to India”
Franklin Evans; or, the Inebriate: A Tale of the Times
Publications in Periodicals
Letters and Correspondence
International Editions
Fine Press Editions



      New York, 1865.  Second issue containing the “Sequel” with the following title page: “Sequel to Drum Taps.”  A few copies were issued containing “Drum Taps” only; upon Lincoln's death, Whitman added “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d” with a separate title page.

Drum Taps cover             Drum Taps title page

November Boughs

November Boughs cover

Two Rivulets

Two Rivulets title page


Whitman Diffracted: His Work as Published by Other Hands

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Gems 1         Gems 2

Gems 3

Gems 4

Gems from Walt Whitman.  Selected by Elizabeth Porter Gould. 

Philadephia, David McKay.  1889. First edition, scarce.


Leaves of Grass variorum McKay


Leaves of Grass variorum McKay title page

McKay variorum preface

David McKay's variorum edition of Leaves of Grass ("Including variorum readings of the poems and a department of gathered leaves").

Philadelphia, David McKay. 1900.

Cover, title page, and first page of Preface shown here.


An 1855-56 Notebook Toward the Second Edition of Leaves of Grass.

Edited with introduction and notes by Harold W. Blodgett, Foreword by Charles E. Feinberg, additional notes by William White.

Carbondale, Southern Illinois University Press. 1959.

Notebook 2nd edition title page


Proof sheet of “Passage to India”

Whitman’s “Passage to India” was written in 1868 and published in 1871; an extremely rare proof sheet for this poem has come into Brandeis’s possession.

Passage to India proofsheet      


Franklin Evans; or, the Inebriate: A Tale of the Times (1842)

Franklin Evans title page

     Whitman’s temperance novel Franklin Evans was written and published while he was working at Park Benjamin’s printing house in New York.  He came to regret having written it later in life, calling it “damned rot” and claiming (perhaps in jest) to his friend Horace Traubel that he actually wrote the novel under the influence of alcohol.  As critic William Lyon Phelps pointed out in 1924, “it sounds like a burlesque on a temperance tract.”  It was not one of those works to which Whitman tirelessly worked to attract attention; much to his later chagrin, he did not have to, as the novel proved to be one of his life-long bestsellers.


Publications in Periodicals

     Many of Whitman’s publications in periodicals, beginning with “Fame’s Vanity” in an October 1839 issue of the Long Island Democrat, are extremely difficult to find.  The early publications in particular served as the “long foreground” at which Emerson guessed in his famous letter praising the first edition of Leaves of Grass; we can see Whitman honing his talent in these pieces over the sixteen years leading up to the first publication of his book.  Arranged here is a selection from examples that Brandeis has acquired—our collection includes some very early work in the Democratic Review, Century Illustrated Monthly, Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, and The Galaxy.  There are also a few items from later in Whitman’s career.


Democratic Review 1

Democratic Review 2

"Revenge and Requital: A Tale of a Murderer Escaped," an early piece by Whitman appearing in the July-August 1845 issue of The United States Magazine, and Democratic Review.

New York Dissected title page

New York Dissected: A Sheaf of Recently Discovered Newspaper Articles by the Author of Leaves of Grass.

Edited by Emory Holloway and Ralph Adimari.

New York, Rufus Rockwell Wilson. 1936.



     Whitman’s correspondence is voluminous and scattered among the archival repositories of many institutions and private collections, and it has always attracted considerable if at times desultory attention.  Some limited selections from his letters to various individuals were published even during his lifetime for their particular interest, including those he wrote to his mother, to Anne Gilchrist (biographer of William Blake and ardent devotee of Whitman’s), to Peter Doyle (the man with whom it seems he had one of his most extended and developed intimate relationships), and various others. 


autograph note

     One rare item in the collection is this autograph note, addressed to E. M. Abdy Williams, dated January 7th, 1883.  This individual is probably Ellen Mary Abdy Williams, also known as Mrs. Bernhard Whishaw, subsequently the author of three Victorian novels (Two Ifs: A Novel; For His Friend; and World Below: A Novel; these were put out in London by Sonnenschein Press in 1884, 1885, and 1887, respectively).  Williams lived from 1857 to 1937.  Nothing further is known about her correspondence with Whitman.


Letters of Gilchrist and W

The Letters of Anne Gilchrist and Walt Whitman. Edited by Thomas Harned. Illustrated. First edition. Garden City, Doubleday, Page & Co. 1918.

Letters with Peter Doyle

Calamus: A Series of Letters Written During the Years 1868–1880 by Walt Whitman to a Young Friend (Peter Doyle). Edited by Richard Maurice Bucke. Boston, Small, Maynard. 1897.


International Editions

     During Whitman's lifetime, his work was already being brought out in translation and in foreign editions.  Arranged here is a selection from before and after his death; the collection also includes some examples of publicity in foreign-language periodicals. 



Prosaschriften 1      Prosaschriften 2

Feuilles dHerbe

Foglie di Erba 1      Foglie di Erba 2

Editions and selections above in Danish, German (both Leaves of Grass and his prose writings), French, and Italian.

Preface London reprint

Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman: Preface to the Original Edition, 1855

London, Trübner & Co., 1881.  Printed with the permission of the author.

Fine Press Editions


FP Song of Myself

FP Song of Myself  title page

FP Song of Myself epigraph

Fine press edition of "Song of Myself," red velvet cover. New York, Roycrofters, East Aurora. 1904. Cover, title page, and epigraph shown here.


1940 fine press edition of Leaves of Grass, bound in grass-like rough green burlap. Edited by Christopher Morley. Illustrated by Louis Daniel.


Due to copyright laws, it is impossible to reproduce here images from the many fine press editions in the collection printed after 1923.