globe showing the americas American Studies Program
Klapper Hall Room 345 / Telephone 718-997-4633

Walt Whitman in Queens
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"Did You Know I Was Your Neighbor?"
Exhibit Presented by Queens College - December 2, 2005 - January 2, 2006 *** extended through January 12, 2006 ***
Flushing Library of the
Queens Borough Public Library
Lower Level, outside the Auditorium
NY Daily News Article / Queens Section - Sunday, January 8, 2005

Click on any image on this page for a larger image. [Photos on this page by S. Lefkoe and E. Rondot]

Upstairs Easel Title Panels
Display Cases Left Wall
Right Wall

The following words by the great American poet Walt Whitman (1819-1892) are very appropriate today to Queens College, to the Borough of Queens and to all of New York:

  from I Hear America Singing

I  hear America singing, the varied carols I hear...

from The Preface to Leaves of Grass

...The United States themselves are essentially the greatest poem... Here is not merely a nation but a teeming nation of nations...

from Democratic Vistas

 ...And, topping democracy, this most alluring record, that it alone can bind, and ever seeks to bind, all nations, all men, of however various and distant lands, into a brotherhood, a family. It is the old, yet ever-modern dream of earth, out of her eldest and her youngest, her fond philosophers and poets...

Those who know any local history related to Walt Whitman usually think only of his Manhattan, Brooklyn and Huntington, L.I. connections.  Some also think of Camden, NJ.

A young Walt Whitman lived, taught, politicized and worked on newspapers here in Queens as well! The neighborhoods include Flushing, Jamaica, Little Bay Side and Whitestone.  Many of Whitman's connections to the Borough of Queens in the late 1830s and early 1840s are highlighted in this exhibit presented by Queens College.

One of our exciting local "finds" is a copy of the page of the US Census for 1840 that documents that Walt Whitman lived in Jamaica as of the census date - June 1, 1840.  His entry is just under the entry for his employer / landlord James J. Brenton. "Walter Whitman" is identified as a free white male, single, age 20 to under 30, employed in the learned professions / engineer.

Among Queens College's own connections to Walt Whitman are the following:

We hope you enjoy our exhibit and celebrate with us the 150th anniversary of the publication of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass.

Following are the major categories illustrated in the exhibit:

[Expanded outline of the exhibit]

: Nancy Bareis, Steve Barto, Joe Brostek, Jeff Castellan, Regina DeRise, Ben Eichler, Jeff Gottlieb, Syd Lefkoe, Ellen Rondot, Bob Weller, Nancy Williams

Dr. Bette S. Weidman, Program Director of the American Studies Program, made the critical connections responsible for the scope of the July 14, 2005 exhibit on campus.  It was then developed into the larger December 2005 exhibit at the Flushing Library.
The Flushing Library exhibition was arranged through the efforts of Queens College alums Joe Brostek (Events Office) and Tom Galante (Director, Queens Public Library System).

We also gratefully acknowledge
Special thanks to our new friends in the Flushing Library of the Queens Borough Public Library who made this exhibit easy and enjoyable for us to arrange and accomplish.

This exhibit began as a much smaller exhibit that was part of the Walt Whitman Garden Dedication / Reception at Queens College, July 14, 2005, as Queens College commemorated the 150th anniversary of the publication by Walt Whitman of Leaves of Grass. This new exhibit includes photos and other publicity about that eventMore on that event on the CUNY Web Site at

Selected Walt Whitman Resources

Prepared and posted by the exhibit committee.

American Studies Home Page
Queens College Home Page