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Walt Whitman Documents Discovered in the National Archives

During the 1860s and 70s Walt Whitman, one of America's greatest poets and writers, worked as a government clerk in Washington, D.C., spending much of that time in the Department of Justice. This Inside the Vaults video short features Kenneth Price, professor of English at University of Nebraska-Lincoln and co-editor of the Walt Whitman Archive, who discovered more than 3,000 documents in Whitman's handwriting in the records of the Department of Justice. The documents include letters, documents, telegrams and memos copied into large-bound volumes of department records. Price says it is unclear whether Whitman was simply a scribe or somehow contributed to the documents' composition. What is clear, says Price, is that Whitman's work as a clerk immersed him in the issues of the day and influenced his later writing. See an archive of Whitman's collected works at Inside the Vaults includes highlights from the National Archives in the Washington, DC, area and from the Presidential libraries and regional archives nationwide. These shorts present behind-the-scenes exclusives and offer surprising stories about the National Archives treasures. See more from Inside the Vaults at
Length: 03:07


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