About the Author
Born 1819 in Long Island, New York, Whitman began working at the early age of 13, having left school the year before. He was an office boy, then a printer's assistant on several of the newspapers around New York. Occasionally he contributed articles to the papers, writing some of the earliest reports of baseball games. From 1836-1841 he taught in schools in the Long Island area, then founded and edited the newspaper The Long Islander from 1836-1841. Later he worked as as editor of the paper Brooklyn Eagle, though he was fired because of his antislavery views. It wasn't until 1848 that he began seriously to apply himself to poetry, self-publishing Leaves of Grass, a compilation of 12 of his poems. This drew the praise of Ralph Waldo Emerson, who proclaimed in a letter to Whitman: "I greet you at the beginning of a new career." Whitman published a second volume of poems, Drum Taps, in 1865, which was better received by the public. Whitman died in Camden in 1892.