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University of Nebraska, Lincoln (Lincoln, NE 68588-0007)
Kenneth Price (Project Director: December 2015 to present)
Ed Folsom (Co Project Director: February 2016 to present)
Unearthing The "Buried Masterpiece" of American Literature: A Digital Variorum of the 1855 Leaves of Grass

Preparation for online publication of 19th-century American author Walt Whitman's first edition of Leaves of Grass, as part of an existing digital archive devoted to Whitman. See website at

The Walt Whitman Archive seeks NEH support to edit the first edition of Leaves of Grass and the constellation of draft documents that contributed to it by developing a digital variorum of this edition of Leaves from manuscript and notebook beginnings through its many variations in print. Whitman wrote the poetry, designed the book, and set some of the type, and his first Leaves was stunning both as verse and as a material object. This project will entail careful work on at least ninety-nine manuscripts contributing to the volume. Our goals are to advance understanding of this paradigm-shifting book and to enable future scholarship by drawing on some of the opportunities for representation unique to digital editing.

[Grant products][Media coverage]

Project fields:
American Literature

Scholarly Editions and Translations

Research Programs

$300,000 (approved)
$300,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2017 – 6/30/2020