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Excerpt from The Wound-Dresser engraved in granite wall at the north entrance to the Dupont Circle Metro station, Washington, D.C. photo credit

Walt Whitman called Washington, D.C. a city of “romance,” “of things begun.” It might seem an odd description by a man who spent countless hours witnessing in D.C.’s military hospitals every insult nature and man’s ingenuity could inflict on the human body.

But while Walt’s residence in D.C. is known mostly for his work helping soldiers, he stayed on after the war (and continued visiting soldiers still hospitalized). Altogether, he lived in D.C. for about eleven years. He likely would have stayed for the rest of his life, but in 1873 a disabling stroke forced him to move in with his brother George in Camden, NJ.

The following links offer words and photos that bring us near Walt’s life in Washington. / DC images (images) / DC (photos)

Civil War Washington, D.C.  Blog with descriptions of D.C. in the Civil War era, including the “pestiferous ditch of water” that ran along what is now Constitution Avenue.

Ghosts of DC/Civil War “You are there” type posts, blended with a solid knowledge of today’s D.C.

Capital Poetry On Walt’s words carved into the wall at the Dupont Circle Metro Station.

Streets of Washington. Search Civil War. This blog includes rare, privately owned images.

U.S. National Archives, Civil War collection (not all DC, but some)

Vintage Everyday (photos)

Washington Friends of Walt Whitman

The Whitman Tour Focuses on Walt’s lodgings in D.C.

Whitman Walking Tour of D.C. Includes Walt’s workplaces.


“A true Whitmanian feast—for the intellect as well as for the eyes.” — Ed Folsom, editor Walt Whitman Quarterly

signed copies, free shipping order from Circling Rivers
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“A beautiful book of windows onto the life of Walt Whitman…. From the clear ringing prose to the fascinating photographs and colored illustrations of the great poet’s life we find the man anew—standing in his time and looking straight at us. [Huets] has made a book of marvels and I can’t put it down.” — Steve Scafidi, Poet Laureate, Virginia

Explore the fascinating roots of Whitman’s great work, Leaves of Grass: a family harrowed by alcoholism and mental illness; the bloody Civil War; burgeoning, brawling Manhattan and Brooklyn; literary allies and rivals; and his beloved America, racked by disunion even while racing westward. Over 300 color period images immerse the reader in the life and times of Walt Whitman.

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