This portrait of Walt Whitman was most likely taken by William Kurtz in the late 1860s. The date is unclear because even though the photo is dated 1861, Whitman refers to it in a notebook between 1869 and 1871, where he records a desire to "collect the good portraits," including "Kurtz's head with eyelids dropping."

He goes on to make notes for a poem about this portrait with lines including, "Veil with the lids thine eyes, O soul!/...Mask with their lids thine eyes, O Soul! / The standards of the light & sense shut off..."

Walt Whitman

Reprinted from The Whitman Archive through the Ohio Wesleyan University, Bayley Collection.