"Glorious Times for Newspaper Editors and Correspondents": Whitman at the New Orleans Daily Crescent, 1848-1849

Stefan Schoeberlein, Marshall University

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We argue that Whitman contributed writings by mail after he left and continued his involvement with the paper until the early weeks of 1849, when he learned that one of the editors, John Eliot McClure, was retiring from the business for health reasons. We will demonstrate this thesis by focusing on two sets of texts: the well-known “Sketches of the Sidewalks and the Levee,” a series of humorous character portraits which, unbeknownst to scholars, continued publication until August of 1848, as well as a lengthy series of print correspondence from Whitman sub rosa as “Manhattan” that ran until late January of 1849. While both sets of texts—the “Manhattan” correspondence and the “Sidewalks” sketches—sound distinctly Whitmanian, this essay will pursue two lines of proof to add objective weight to our initial, subjective attribution: a computational, stylometric assessment—a method that has proven helpful in the past—as well as historical and biographical contextualization.