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New Online: Walt Whitman, Heritage Months & Blogs

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(The following is a guest post by William Kellum, manager in the Library’s Web Services Division.)


New online this month are two manuscript collections featuring the poet Walt Whitman. The Thomas Biggs Harned Collection of Walt Whitman papers consists of approximately 3,000 items spanning the period 1842-1937. Most of the items date from 1855, when Whitman first published the poem “Leaves of Grass,” to his death at age 73 in 1892. The online presentation includes correspondence, poetry and prose manuscripts, notes and notebooks, proofs and offprints, printed matter and miscellaneous items. The collection is accompanied by articles related to Whitman’s notebooks, describing how the poet used them to capture his thoughts and words; the repair and conservation work done at the Library; and the story of how four of the notebooks were returned to the Library 50 years after they mysteriously disappeared from the institution’s manuscript collections.

1888 printed copy of Whitman’s “O Captain! My Captain!” with Whitman’s handwritten corrections. Manuscript Division.
1888 printed copy of Whitman’s “O Captain! My Captain!” with Whitman’s handwritten corrections. Manuscript Division.

The Walt Whitman Papers (Miscellaneous Manuscript Collection) has some 150 items, including some of Whitman’s earliest known correspondence, and a printed copy of Whitman’s poem “O Captain! My Captain!” containing the poet’s handwritten corrections.


We’re always looking for ways to make the digital collections easier to use. This month, we’ve added new features to the digital collections portal, including the ability to use facets to filter by format, subject and the Library division that manages the content. For example, this link shows you American history-related digital collections from the Prints and Photographs Division. In the coming months, we’ll be adding additional features for working with collections.


The Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month and Jewish American Heritage Month sites provide new content, as well as a new mobile-friendly visual design, a new video player and more. The Library provides the heritage month sites in collaboration with the National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.


Finally, we add a new blog to our growing family – 4 Corners of the World Blog: International Collections and Studies. A joint project of the Library’s four area studies divisions — African and Middle Eastern, Asian, European and Hispanic – the blog will focus on the Library’s international collections, which comprise millions of items from ancient cuneiform tablets right up to materials from the present day.

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