The Whitman Letters Project

    The letters in the Whitman Letters Project were digitally archived with the permission of the Whitman House and the New Jersey Park Division of Parks and Forestry. These manuscript letters are currently held at Whitman’s Mickle St. residence and have been unavailable to the public until now due to their fragile condition. The Letters Project gives users a rare opportunity to interact with these normally inaccessible artifacts, while also being able to view them in a unique manner. The close-ups of Whitman’s script allow users to see the fine details of his penmanship and the changes to it that occurred throughout his life. In addition, one begins to understand the kind of prolific epistolary writer Whitman was, how he communicated and interacted with various family members through his letters, and how the locations he lived in and events he experienced affected him and his writing. Several poignant letters, such as the one written to his mother on May 25, 1865, were later added to Whitman’s published works. Others, such as the June 22, 1878 letter describing a voyage up the Hudson River, are great examples of the critical and observant eye Whitman carried with him even in the last years of his life. No matter how you read these letters, they give a rare glimpse into the personal life of Whitman and the man behind the poems.

© 2005