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Walt Whitman Manuscript Collections

Date range: 1857-1957

Medium: Manuscript

The Library holds two collections of papers relating to Walt Whitman (1819-92), the American journalist, essayist and poet, whose Leaves of Grass made him a revolutionary figure in American literature.

The Sixsmith Collection (English MSS 1170, 1172, 1330, 1331) comprises papers of Charles F. Sixsmith of Anderton, Lancashire, respecting his Whitman interest. It includes 39 letters to Whitman from various correspondents, and correspondence of Horace L. Traubel, the intimate friend of Whitman, mostly addressed to J. W. Wallace, Dr John Johnston and Sixsmith.

Sixmith's papers also reflect other interests and activities, including his friendship with Edward Carpenter (1844-1929), socialist writer and campaigner for homosexual equality; the cotton trade; industrial relations; and the English countryside.

Another collection (English MS 1186) relates to James William Wallace (1853-1926), friend of Walt Whitman, and founder of the Bolton Whitman Fellowship. It includes 53 drafts or copies of letters from Wallace to Whitman, 1887-1891, copies of eight letters from John Addington Symonds, 1890-1893, and a typescript diary of Wallace's visits to Whitman in 1891.

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