Born in 1819, Walt Whitman grew up in Brooklyn and Long Island. His ecstatic poems testify to his wandering spirit and limitless curiosity. Over the course of his life, he held many jobs and lived in many places: He taught in a one-room schoolhouse on Long Island, worked as a printer in New York City, and tended wounded soldiers in Washington D.C. during the Civil War. In the early 1870s, Whitman settled in Camden, New Jersey, to live with his brother and care for their sick mother.
Though his brother decided to move to rural Burlington, New Jersey, Whitman chose to stay in Camden. In 1882, the surprise success of a late edition of his major work, Leaves of Grass, provided Whitman with the $1,750 needed to purchase a modest, two-story house located at 330 Mickle Boulevard, the first and only home he owned. He invited Mary O. Davis, a sea captain's widow, to move into his home, along with her furniture. She helped him keep house, and he took care of the living expenses and paid her a small salary. He referred to her as his housekeeper and friend, and she remained with Whitman until his death.
Now a National Historic Landmark, the Walt Whitman House has been preserved with his letters and personal belongings, a collection of rare photographs, his deathbed, and the 1892 notice of his death nailed to the front door. Visit the Walt Whitman House website for hours, admission fees, and more information.
Visitors to Camden can also visit Whitman's tomb at the nearby Harleigh cemetery.