This article is over 7 years old Walt Whitman in Kenneth Price, a professor of American literature at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and co-director of the Whitman archive, uncovered the thousands of documents at the National Archives vault in Washington DC. They were written while the author of Leaves of Grass was employed as a government clerk between and He worked mainly as a scribe and copyist, drafting correspondence, copying letters written by others and researching a variety of issues.
About Walt Whitman [Note: This biographical essay is excerpted from a longer essay included in The Walt Whitman Hypertext Archive at http: Price and Ed Folsom. Walt Whitman was named after his father, a carpenter and farmer who was 34 years old when Whitman was born. Trained as a carpenter but struggling to find work, he had taken up farming by the time Walt was born, but when Walt was just about to turn four, Walter Sr.
Whitman later came to view this event as a kind of laying on of hands, the French hero of the American Revolution anointing the future poet of democracy in the energetic city of immigrants, where the new nation was being invented day by day.
Walt Whitman is thus of the first generation of Americans who were born in the newly formed United States and grew up assuming the stable existence of the new country. Pride in the emergent nation was rampant, and Walter Sr. His mother, on the other hand, served throughout his life as his emotional touchstone.
There was a special affectional bond between Whitman and his mother, and the long correspondence between them records a kind of partnership in attempting to deal with the family crises that mounted over the years, as Jesse became mentally unstable and violent and eventually had to be institutionalized, as Hannah entered a disastrous marriage with an abusive husband, as Andrew became an alcoholic and married a prostitute before dying of ill health in his 30s, and as Edward required increasingly dedicated care.
Walt loved living close to the East River, where as a child he rode the ferries back and forth to New York City, imbibing an experience that would remain significant for him his whole life: The daily commute suggested the passage from life to death to life again and suggested too the passage from poet to reader to poet via the vehicle of the poem.
By crossing Brooklyn ferry, Whitman first discovered the magical commutations that he would eventually accomplish in his poetry. While in Brooklyn, Whitman attended the newly founded Brooklyn public schools for six years, sharing his classes with students of a variety of ages and backgrounds, though most were poor, since children from wealthy families attended private schools.
Whitman had little to say about his rudimentary formal schooling, except that he hated corporal punishment, a common practice in schools and one that he would attack in later years in both his journalism and his fiction.
The idyllic Long Island countryside formed a sharp contrast to the crowded energy of the quickly growing Brooklyn-New York City urban center. This dual allegiance can be traced in his poetry, which is often marked by shifts between rural and urban settings.
Self-Education and First Career By the age of eleven, Whitman was done with his formal education by this time he had far more schooling than either of his parents had receivedand he began his life as a laborer, working first as an office boy for some prominent Brooklyn lawyers, who gave him a subscription to a circulating library, where his self-education began.
Always an autodidact, Whitman absorbed an eclectic but wide-ranging education through his visits to museums, his nonstop reading, and his penchant for engaging everyone he met in conversation and debate. InWhitman became an apprentice on the Long Island Patriot, a liberal, working-class newspaper, where he learned the printing trade and was first exposed to the excitement of putting words into print, observing how thought and event could be quickly transformed into language and immediately communicated to thousands of readers.
At the age of twelve, young Walt was already contributing to the newspaper and experiencing the exhilaration of getting his own words published. These early years on his own in Brooklyn and New York remained a formative influence on his writing, for it was during this time that he developed the habit of close observation of the ever-shifting panorama of the city, and a great deal of his journalism, poetry, and prose came to focus on catalogs of urban life and the history of New York City, Brooklyn, and Long Island.
Brother Jeff, fourteen years younger than Walt, would become the sibling he felt closest to, their bond formed when they traveled together to New Orleans inwhen Jeff was about the same age as Walt was when Jeff was born.
But while Jeff was a young child, Whitman spent little time with him.Walt Whitman was born on May 31, , in West Hills, New York, the second son of Walter Whitman, a housebuilder, and Louisa Van Velsor.
The family, which consisted of nine children, lived in Brooklyn and Long Island in the s and s. Walt Whitman was born into a family that settled in North America in the first half of the 17th century. His ancestry was typical of the region: his mother, Louisa Van Velsor, was Dutch, and his father, Walter Whitman, was of English descent.
They were farm people with little formal education. The. Walt Whitman, in full Walter Whitman, (born May 31, , West Hills, Long Island, New York, U.S.—died March 26, , Camden, New Jersey), American poet, journalist, and essayist whose verse collection Leaves of Grass, first published in , is a landmark in the history of American literature.
A "huge trove" of documents written by Walt Whitman while the American poet worked for the government as a clerk has been unearthed by a scholar.
Kenneth Price, . Walt Whitman is America’s world poet—a latter-day successor to Homer, Virgil, Dante, and Shakespeare.
In Leaves of Grass (, ), he celebrated democracy, nature, love, and friendship. This monumental work chanted praises to the body as well as to . 2. Lifelong Friends. Our staff is not only large, with over people from the U.S. and Canada, as well as from around the globe, but it consists of people who share a passion for working with children, gaining new experiences, meeting new people and having a lot of fun!