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A Walt Whitman Bicentennial: Exhibit
July 29, 2019 @ 12:00 AM - September 16, 2019 @ 12:00 AM
Special Collections recently received a sizable donation of early and special editions by and about Walt Whitman from Milwaukee collector Jim Van Ess, a retired academic librarian who worked for many years at Carroll University.
Included in the donation are early printings of Whitman’s seminal work Leaves of Grass, including the very rare third edition of 1860-61 and the so-called “deathbed” edition of 1891-92; first editions of Whitman’s other works published during the poet’s lifetime, including Two Rivulets (1876), Specimen Days & Collect (1882-83), November Boughs (1888), and Good-Bye My Fancy (1891); first editions of collections, memoirs, and essays by his close friends, colleagues, and literary executors.
Max Yela, head of Special Collections, notes that before this donation, Special Collections preserved only a very small collection of Whitman’s works. “Jim’s very generous donation augments this collection quite considerably,” Yela says, “affording a far greater depth of understanding of Whitman’s work, process, publishing history, and the critical responses of others, including his close contemporaries.”
In commemoration of this year’s bicentennial of Whitman’s birth, and as a commitment to adding to the Van Ess donation, Special Collections recently purchased two important, limited, and hand-printed Whitman titles: the 1981 Lime Kiln Press edition of American Bard and the 1991 Gwasg Gregynog printing of Wrenching Times, Poems from Drum-Taps.
These two new acquisitions plus a broad selection from the Van Ess donation are featured in the exhibition “A Walt Whitman Bicentennial,” in the 4th Floor Exhibition Gallery, June 17 to September 13, 2019.