“Camden was originally an accident, but I shall never be sorry I was left over in Camden, it has brought me blessed returns.” -Walt Whitman
Step back in time to the humble dwelling of the “Good Gray Poet,” Walt Whitman. Constructed in 1848, this modest wooden-framed structure built in Greek-revival style was the only home ever owned by Walt Whitman. Here is where Whitman grew to international fame as the author of Leaves of Grass, hosted visitors from around the world and completed his last comprehensive volume of poetry before his death in 1892. Today, as a New Jersey State His- toric Site and a National Historic Landmark, the restored Whitman House welcomes visitors from around the world who come to experience the last worldly surroundings of America’s great “Poet of Democracy.”
In 1884, Walt Whitman purchased a modest two-story frame house on Mick- le 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 rep- utation attracted the attention of the day’s most prominent literary figures. Among them, Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde came to Camden to visit Amer- ica’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 pre- served, as well as a collection of rare nineteenth-century photographs, including the earliest known image of Whitman – an 1848 daguerreotype.
330 Mickle Boulevard (also known as Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard) • Camden NJ 08103
Phone: (856) 964-5383
Please Note: It is recommended that if you wish to visit the house, you call ahead and speak with a staff member to confirm hours and availability of tours and programs
OPEN: WEDNESDAY THROUGH SATURDAY: 10 A.M. TO NOON, 1 TO 4 P.M. SUNDAY: 1 TO 4 P.M.
Visits to the Whitman House are by guided tour only. As tours are limited in size, it is always advisable to speak to a staff member before visiting to confirm hours and tour availability. Please note: the schedule may be subject to change.
Closed: Mondays and Tuesdays, most state and federal holidays, and Wednesdays following Monday or Tuesday holidays. ADMISSION IS FREE