Other Writings and Publications

"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."


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 CoverDrum-Taps Title page

November Boughs

November Boughs cover

Two Rivulets

Two Rivulets

Walt Whitman Diffracted: His Work as Published by Other Hands

Gems from Walt Whitman. Selected by Elizabeth Porter Gould.

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

Gems, Table of Contents

Gems, coverGems, title page
"To Walt Whitman" by Elizabeth Porter Gould

Leaves of Grass, cover
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.

Leaves of Grass Variorum, Title page

Leaves of Grass, Variorum, Preface

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

An 1855-56 Notebook Toward the Second Edition of Leaves of GrassEdited with introduction and notes by Harold W. Blodgett

Foreword by Charles E. Feinberg

Additional notes by William White.

Carbondale, Southern Illinois University Press. 1959.

Proof sheet of “Passage to India”

Passage to India proof sheetWhitman’s “Passage to India” was written in 1868 and published in 1871.

An extremely rare proof sheet for this poem has come into Brandeis’ possession.

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

Franklin Evans; or, the Inebriate: A Tale of the Times (1842)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 16 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.

"Revenge and Requital: A Tale of a Murderer Escaped"

Democratic Review, contents pageAn early piece by Whitman appearing in the July-August 1845 issue of The United States Magazine, and Democratic Review.

Democratic Review, story page

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

New York Dissected, title pageEdited 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, addressed to E. M. Abdy Williams

Autograph noteOne 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.

The Letters of Anne Gilchrist and Walt Whitman

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

Calamus: A Series of Letters Written During the Years 1868–1880 by Walt Whitman to a Young Friend (Peter Doyle)

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.

Editions and Selections in Danish and German (both Leaves of Grass and his prose writings)

Digte, cover

Grashalme don Whitman


French and Italian Editions

Italian edition of Leaves of GrassItalian edition of Leaves of Grass, title page

French edition of Leaves of Grass

Edition Printed in London

Preface of edition printed in London"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

Song of Myself

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

Song of Myself epigraphSong of Myself inside pages

1940 Fine Press edition of Leaves of Grass

Fine press edition with grass binding1940 fine press edition of "Leaves of Grass," bound in grass-like rough green burlap.

Edited by Christopher Morley.

Illustrated by Louis Daniel.