Walt Whitman and his fellowship of supporters in Bolton, 1891-1913

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Collected papers of the Bolton Whitman Fellowship

Collected papers of the Bolton Whitman Fellowship

Warry has just come in & made the bed - a sudden quite heavy shower - loving salutations to you, to Wallace & to all the friends
Walt Whitman, Sep 1890Transcripts and facsimiles of Correspondence with Wallace and Johnston (i); img 8

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The beat poet, Walt Whitman, exchanged these letters with his fans in Bolton

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Regarded as the father of American poetry, Walt Whitman (1819-1892) maintained an active correspondence with this obscure group of socialist and ordinary working-class readers. Indeed, once, when the critic Herbert Gilchrist asked Whitman: It surprises me that you should be so taken with those Bolton folks; they're not famous in England at all, the poet was heard by Horace Traubel to reply: "It surprises you, does it? Well, I've had my bellyful of famous people! Thank God they're just nobody at all, like all people who are worthwhile." In addition to letters, the papers include photographs and journals of pilgrimages by founding members to Whitman in New Jersey, as well as records of the group's annual celebration of his birthday. So close became the relationship that the friendship between Whitman's inner circle and the group continued long after the poet's death. These papers comprise the bulk of the archive generated by members of the group. Together with the separate collection deposited by Charles F. Sixsmith with the John Rylands University of Manchester Library and also the papers of Dr John H. Johnston, they form an essential resource for the reader-oriented study of one of the pre-eminent exponents of English-language poetry in the 19th century.


Walt Whitman and his fellowship of supporters in Bolton, 1891-1913...

Containing 10,369 pages belonging to 178 documents housed in 12 volumes...

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American Walt Whitman Fellowship published papers

ZWN 1. These items contain the initial Constitution for 'Walt Whitman Fellowship International' and later amendments to it. There are...

The Bolton Whitman Fellowship

ZWN/2. This grouping contains reports of events related to the Eagle Street College and one of its members, Dr. R....

Papers relating to the Bolton Whitman Fellowship revival and recent deposits

ZWN/3. This selection of documents includes photocopies of the Whitman group's correpondence and photographs, from the latter nineteenth century to...

The Walt Whitman correspondence

ZWN/4. This collection of correspondence covers the later years of Whitman's life and therefore includes details of his failing health...


  • The Walt Whitman correspondence is more social than poetic. These conversational letters reveal Walt Whitman's personality as he discusses his failing health and the tomb he is having built.
  • These items also include photographs and the published papers of the fellowship. They also include the letters of leading members of the group.
  • The fellowship also conducted their own research on the life and works of Walt Whitman. This research can be found in the J. W. Wallace's correspondence and the Traubel Correspondence.
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