This head-and-shoulders portrait of Walt Whitman was taken by Alexander Gardner in Washington, D.C., around 1863.

In Horace Traubel's With Walt Whitman in Camden (Small, Maynard, 1906), Whitman describes himself in this photograph: "How well I was then!—not a sore spot—full of initiative, vigor, joy—not much belly, but grit, fibre, hold, solidity. Indeed, all through those years—that period—I was at my best—physically at my best, mentally, every way."

Walt Whitman, by Gardner, 1863

Reprinted from the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division