Walt Whitman House
In 1884, Walt Whitman purchased a modest two-story frame house on Mickle Street for $1750. It is the only house he ever owned. He lived there until his death in 1892, at the age of seventy-two.
He had come to Camden years earlier, in 1873, and lived with his brother George on nearby Stevens Street. By this time, Whitman's international reputation attracted the attention of the days most prominent literary figures. Among them, Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde came to Camden to visit America's greatest poet.
When George and his wife Louisa decided to move to rural Burlington, New Jersey, Walt chose to stay in Camden. With the surprising success of the 1882 edition of Leaves of Grass Whitman was able to purchase his own home. He soon met Mary O. Davis, the widow of a sea captain, who was renting a house on West Street. The aging poet proposed that she move into his empty house with her furniture, rent free, and keep house for him. He would provide the living expenses and pay her a small salary. Mrs. Davis moved in and remained with Whitman until his death on March 26, 1892. Whitman referred to Mary as his housekeeper and friend.
During his years in Camden, Whitman became a friend of the Philadelphia artist, Thomas Eakins. These two giants of nineteenth-century American culture found much to admire in each other's work. Each in his own medium broke with conventions, creating something new and distinctly American. Eakins photographed Whitman and painted his portrait.
Today the Walt Whitman House, a National Historic Landmark, provides an intimate glimpse into the life of the poet, attracting visitors from around the world. Whitman's original letters, personal belongings, the bed in which he died, and the death notice that was nailed to the front door have all been preserved, as well as a collection of rare nineteenth-century photographs, including the earliest known image of Whitman - an 1848 daguerreotype.
Don't c many people going there at all. I've never been inside, but doesn't look very big and you can't just go whenever. Certain days and times to b able to walk through.
A Google User
Glad we made a reservation tour was full. Very nice!
Our visit to the Walt Whitman House was the highlight of our visit to the Philadelphia area. The guide who took us on a tour was professional and very knowledgeable about Walt Whitman. Along with the Edgar Allan Poe House, this is a must see for those who love literature and history. Plus, It's a very cool old house. Make sure to call ahead to check the hours and make a reservation for the guided tour. We just showed up and the tour was full so we had to wait to come back for the next one.
Call ahead to be sure that the house will be open, and they will have you make an appointment since it's a personally guided tour. The tour guide meets you out front and provides information on Whitman's history, as well as some history on the surrounding area. You're able to see most rooms in the house, each of which are filled with Whitman's personal belongings, with the tour ending in the yard. The house is beautifully maintained and set up. There is no photography permitted within the house. The tour guide was friendly and very knowledgeable of Whitman, his family, friends, and the surrounding area. Definitely worth the trip!
Just love the place
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