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A century after his death, Whitman's reputation as a poet seems unassailable. During his lifetime, however, he had only a small readership. Nonetheless, a group of about thirty Whitman devotees (Whitmanites) formed in Bolton, Lancashire, England in the mid 1880s. It was led by James Wallace and John Johnston, who were in regular correspondence with the poet.
This archive, the rich record of that group, consists of letters, essays, songs, poems, and photographs printed for the Whitmanites. It also includes a few works printed for journals and the press.
The collection documents associations with the wider British socialist culture as well as connections to such individuals as John Bruce Glasier, Edward Carpenter, Robert Blatchford, and Keir Hardie. The collection also depicts Bolton and the surrounding region during a period of tumultuous change: the move from the Victorian to the Modern era. Thus, the archive is valuable not only to researchers interested in the reception of Whitman's poetry but also to those seeking information on early socialism in the late nineteenth century.
Note: this collection may require additional delivery time.
Whether the change involves a print-to-electronic transition or a space reclamation project, there are bound to be questions, concerns and even resistance.
“These testimonies take the historical stories out of the realm of history and place them in the realm of the human.”