A look at what Walt Whitman was doing in 1855. Hobbies, stories he wrote, specifically Leaves of Grass.

Essay by wburns42College, Undergraduate November 2004

download word file, 7 pages 3.0

Downloaded 55 times

Whitman in 1855

What was Walt doing at this time? Late in 1854, Whitman was working in carpentry. He is assumed to have started his writings for what would later be known, and published as Leaves of Grass in late 1854 or early 1855. One of his brothers once commented that Walt would get an idea while working, write it down, then take the rest of the day off. How did Walt get his book published? Allen contends that Walt probably sought out a commercial publisher to take his book at first, though there is no mention or proof of this. However, Whitman took his book to the Rome brothers, James and Thomas, who had a printing shop on the corner of Fulton and Cranberry. These two men were friends of Walt. They let Walt supervise their work and even help in the setting of some of the type. Whitman is thought to have set about ten pages.

However, the frontispiece and probably the binding had to be done somewhere else. Some think that the book went on sale on July 4, but it isn't probable that any book stores were open on that day. However, an advertisement appeared in The New York Tribune on July 6 for the book. How did Walt come up with the money for the books? We can't answer this for sure, but one fact may shed some light on the subject: The Whitman's bought a house on May 24, 1855, on Ryerson Street. Mrs. Whitman was given legal permission to sign the papers because her husband was ill. The house was purchased for $1,840. Therefore, it is a possibility that Walt got money from his mother. How did Walt advertise the book? The two bookstores that advertised the book in The New York Tribune...