The prairie states
Scope and Contents
One handwritten poem written and signed in Camden, New Jersey, on 16 March 1880. The poem praises the Midwestern states.
- 1880 March 16
- Whitman, Walt (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
Open for public research. Photocopy not stored in cold vault.
Conditions Governing Use
It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from The Prairie States, 1880, must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the Special Collections Board of Curators.
Walter Whitman (May 31, 1819 to March 26, 1892) was an American poet, essayist, journalist, and humanist. Considered the first urban poet, he was a part of the transition between Transcendentalism and Realism, incorporating both views in his works. Whitman is among the most influential and controversial American poets.
Walter (Walt) Whitman (May 31, 1819 to March 26, 1892) was an American poet, essayist, journalist, and humanist. he is viewed as the first urban poet. He was a part of the transition between Transcendentalism and Realism, incorporating both views in his works. Whitman is among the most influential and controversial American poets.
Whitman, possibly America's most influential and innovative poet, was born into a working class family in West Hills, New York, a village near Hempstead, Long Island, on May 31, 1819, just thirty years after George Washington was inaugurated as the first president of the newly formed United States. Whitman was named after his father, a carpenter and farmer who was 34 years old when Whitman was born. Walter Whitman, Sr., had been born just after the end of the American Revolution; always a liberal thinker, he knew and admired Thomas Paine. 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. moved the family to the growing city of Brooklyn, across from New York City, or "Mannahatta" as Whitman would come to call it in his celebrated writings about the city that was just emerging as the nation's major urban center. One of Walt's favorite stories about his childhood concerned the time General Lafayette visited New York and, selecting the six-year-old Walt from the crowd, lifted him up and carried him. 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.
In the fall of 1848, he founded a "free soil" newspaper, the
. Between 1848 and 1855 he developed the style of poetry that astonished Ralph Waldo Emerson. When the poet's
Leaves Of Grass
reached Emerson in July, 1855, the "Dean of American Letters" thanked Whitman for "the wonderful gift." Walt Whitman had been unknown to Emerson prior to that occasion. Music was one of the major sources of Whitman's inspiration. Many of his four hundred poems contain musical terms, names of instruments, and names of composers. He insisted that music was "greater than wealth, greater than buildings, ships, religions, paintings." In his final essay written one year before his death in 1891, he sums up his struggles of thirty years to write
Leaves of Grass.
The opening paragraph of his self-evaluation
A Backward Glance O'er Travel'd Road,
begins with his reminiscences of "the best of songs heard." His concluding comments again return to thoughts about music, saying that "the strongest and sweetest songs remain yet to be sung."
When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloomed
O Captain! My Captain!
(1866) are two of his more famous poems. A poet who was ardently singing on life and himself, Whitman is today claimed as one of the few truly great American men of letters.
1 item (0.01 linear ft.)
Language of Materials
One poem written in Camden, New Jersey, on 16 March 1880.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
19th Century Western and Mormon Manuscripts.
Processed; unknown; 2007.
- Whitman, Walt (Person)
- Register of The prairie states
- Leslie Evens
- 2011 October 14
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English in Latin script.
Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States