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The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Whitman, Walt

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WHITMAN, Walt, an American poet, born at West Hills, Suffolk co., L. I., May 31, 1819. He was educated in the public schools of Brooklyn and New York, learned the printer's trade, worked at it in summer, and taught school in winter. In 1847-'8 he made an extended tour through the United States and Canada, following for long distances the courses of the great western rivers. For brief periods he edited papers in New Orleans and in Huntington, L. I., and then learned the carpenter's trade in Brooklyn. In 1855 he published “Leaves of Grass,” a volume of rhapsodical poems, without rhyme and often without rhythm, which has been increased in each of five successive issues. From 1862 to 1865 he was a volunteer nurse in the military hospitals in Washington and in Virginia. From 1865 to 1874 he held a government clerkship at Washington. In 1873 he was disabled by paralysis. His miscellaneous writings, including his diary of camp and hospital experience, are collected in a volume entitled “Two Rivulets.” In 1876 he published now editions of this and of “Leaves of Grass.” He now (1876) resides at Camden, N. J. He has never married.