Walt Whitman
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Walter Whitman (1819 - 1892)

Walter (Walt) Whitman
Born in West Hills, Suffolk, New York, United Statesmap
Ancestors ancestors
[spouse(s) unknown]
[children unknown]
Died at age 72 in Camden, New Jersey, United Statesmap
Profile last modified | Created 19 Oct 2009
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Walt Whitman is a part of New York history.
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Notables Project
Walt Whitman is Notable.
American poet, essayist, and journalist

Born in Huntington, New York on May 31, 1819, Walter Whitman is one of the most celebrated and influential American poets - who is often referred to as the father of free verse. Walter was a poet for most of his life and is famous for his literary piece "Leaves of Grass" which was written July 4, 1855 and printed nearly eight hundred copies.

The son of Walter Whitman Sr. and Louisa Van Velsor, Whitman grew up with eight other siblings, [1] [2] [3] some of which suffered from mental disorders. He went to Brooklyn public schools for most of his early life, but did not attend college. His early career was based in Brooklyn and Huntington, New York.

His first job was being an writer's apprentice writing for the Long Island Patriot and then later the Long Island Star both of which were published in Brooklyn. In 1842, Whitman was invited by Park Benjamin, editor of The New World, to write a temperance novel. The book that Whitman wrote was named "Franklin Evans" and sold more than twenty thousand copies.

Walt was a Volunteer Nurse during the American Civil War.
Honored for eternity:
In Memoriam

During the Civil War, Whitman moved to Washington, D.C., where he served as a civil servant and volunteer nurse. There he published the poetry collections Drum Taps and Sequel to Drum Taps (1865-66), the latter containing his famous elegies for Abraham Lincoln, “Where Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d” and “O Captain! My Captain!” [4] He lived in D.C. until at least 1870, where he is listed as a clerk at the Attorney General's office in the census. [5] It was in Washington, D.C. that he also met Peter Doyle, an Irish-born streetcar conductor, who became his intimate companion and inspired Whitman's writing for many years. [6]

He lived in Camden, New Jersey from at least 1880. [7] Walter passed away in March 26, 1892 from pneumonia in Camden, Camden, New Jersey, United States. [8] He was buried in Harleigh Cemetery in Camden, New Jersey. [9]

Research Notes

He has long been regarded as being in an advanced state of Cosmic Consciousness for most of his life, which explains his literary style. However, Richard Maurice Bucke writes that "this new [Cosmic] sense ... must have come to him in June, 1853 or 1854, at the age, that is, of thirty-four or thirty-five" [10]. This is based on the contrast between his writings before and after that time, and Whitman's own first "mention of it ... on page 15 of the 1855 edition of the "Leaves"."

Whitman "tells in brief of the change wrought in his mind and heart by the birth within him of the new faculty. He says he was filled all at once with peace and joy and knowledge transcending all the art and argument of the earth. He attained that point of view from which alone can a human being see something of God. And he sums up the account by the statement that God is his close friend, that all the men and women ever born are his brothers and sisters and lovers and that the whole creation is built and rests upon love" (op.cit). [11]. " ... it is to be supposed that he had the Cosmic Sense continuously, for years, but that it came less and less frequently as age advanced" (op.cit). Whitman told of its passing away towards the end of his life.

It should be noted that a very knowledgeable person, Steve Taylor, on the subject of Cosmic Consciousness, recently tweeted on 19 December 2022:- "It's worth remembering that Whitman felt kinship with all humans irrespective of race and nationality: "All the men ever born are my brothers ... and the women my sisters and lovers.""


  1. United States Census, 1850, Walter Whitman in household of Walter Whitman, Brooklyn, ward 11, Kings, New York, United States; citing family 472.
  2. New York State Census, 1855, Walter Whitman in household of Walter Whitman, E.D. 1, Ward 7, Brooklyn City, Kings, New York, United States; citing p. , line #9, family #11, county clerk offices, New York
  3. United States Census, 1860, Walter Whitman in entry for Louisa Whitman, 1860.
  4. Walt Whitman Bio
  5. "United States Census, 1870", database with images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MNW1-3T5 : 28 May 2021), Walt Whitman in entry for Newton Benedict, 1870.
  6. Martin G. Murray, "Pete the Great: A Biography of Peter Doyle, Walt Whitman Archive.
  7. "United States Census, 1880," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MNZP-XFF : 12 August 2017), Walt Whitman, Camden, Camden, New Jersey, United States; citing enumeration district ED 46, sheet 182D
  8. New Jersey Deaths and Burials, 1720-1988, Walt Whitman, 26 Mar 1892; Camden, Camden, New Jersey, United States.
  9. , memorial page for Walt Whitman (31 May 1819–26 Mar 1892), Find A Grave: Memorial #1098, citing Harleigh Cemetery, Camden, Camden County, New Jersey, USA.
  10. Cosmic Consciousness, by Richard Maurice Bucke, [1901, at sacred-texts.com
  11. Psychology Today, March 2017

See also:

  • 'Virginia Woolf' a biography by her nephew Quentin Bell, published by The Hogarth Press, Pimlico, London in 1996. ISBN 0 7126 7450 0, includes extensive family trees. Hundreds of friends, professional connections and people in the 'Bloomsbury set' are also mentioned in the text.'Virginia Woolf' a biography by her nephew Quentin Bell

Memories: 4
Enter a personal reminiscence or story.

"http://www.who2.com/ask/waltwhitman.html." www.who2.com. 10 Oct. 2009. who2, LLC, Web. 29 Oct 2009.

"http://www.biography.com/articles/Walt-Whitman-9530126∂=0" Walt Whitman Biography. The Biography Channel website. 2008. 01 March 2009

posted 30 Oct 2009 by Chris Winkler
"Be curious, not judgmental." -Walt Whitman
posted 30 Oct 2009 by Chris Winkler
"Be curious, not judgmental."

" A great city is that which has the greatest men and women."

"Every moment of light and dark is a miracle."

"I accept reality and dare not question it." - all by walt whitman

posted 29 Oct 2009 by Arely aguiluz
Famous poems by walt whitman:

-Leaves of grass -Song of myself -O Captain My Captain -From passage to India -A Clear Midnight -A Glimpse -A Hand-Mirror -A Leaf for Hand in Hand -A Noiseless Patient Spider -and many more

posted 29 Oct 2009 by Arely aguiluz
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I would also add humanitarian for the following reason: I am related to Oscar Wilber who was befriended by Whitman while in the hospital where Whitman volunteered. The story of this encounter will be forever remembered through Whitman's poems and notes. It was also mentioned in a documentary about Whitman's life. When poor Oscar died Whitman sent his body home to his mother. I was at a dedication for a plaque at the cemetery where Oscar Wilber was buried. It mentions Walt Whitman's 1864 Essay "A New York Soldier" which was written after Oscar's death. My cousin Spencer Morgan was responsible for the effort to have this plaque to honor and remember Oscar Wilber and many other soldiers who sacrificed and died during the Civil War. This can be viewed on Find A Grave memorial #23993415. I also share a distant ancestor with him named Richard Whitman. Who knows how many others he helped during his volunteering and other deeds not recorded to history?
posted by Ken Morgan
edited by Ken Morgan
Walt Whitman was a Civil War nurse. Would it be ok to add something to the biography about his service?
posted by [Living Moore]
Hi, Notables Project,

Source numbered 6 [http;// iwp.uiowa.edu/whitmanweb Whitman] on uiowa.edu is incorrect. There are many University of Iowa URLs for Walt Whitman, but I didn't know which one belonged here.

posted by [Living Moore]
I corrected the categories. West Hills is in Suffolk County. Long Island is not a County.
posted by [Living Moore]
Public thank you to the Notables Proect! for placing Walt under their management.
[email address removed] should be added as a profile manager if you would, please, Chris!
There has been no response from the profile managers in ages. In fact they are not full wikitree members.


posted by Ken Broughton
His final residence, his sister's house in Camden, is a museum. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walt_Whitman_House
posted by H Husted
You might be interested in this link: http://whitmans-brooklyn.org/whitmans-band/

It is written by my cousin about the Grangers & Walt Whitman. Granger-966 is my 4th gr grandfather & was a friend & neighbor of Walt Whitman.

posted by Doug Lockwood
Could you please change the privacy to open so I can add a biography? Also, could you add the following tags?
Walt Whitman is notable.
Join: Notables Project
Discuss: notables
posted by Star Kline

Featured German connections: Walt is 23 degrees from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 22 degrees from Dietrich Bonhoeffer, 25 degrees from Lucas Cranach, 20 degrees from Stefanie Graf, 21 degrees from Wilhelm Grimm, 25 degrees from Fanny Hensel, 24 degrees from Theodor Heuss, 17 degrees from Alexander Mack, 31 degrees from Carl Miele, 17 degrees from Nathan Rothschild, 22 degrees from Hermann Friedrich Albert von Ihering and 21 degrees from Ferdinand von Zeppelin on our single family tree. Login to see how you relate to 33 million family members.