fabfab on Dec 1st 2009


It was discovered by Elias Wilentz, Wilentz’s son and Paul Berman  that 99 Ryerson was once in fact the home of Walt Whitman. According to an article tittled “Walt Whitman’s Ghost” written by Paul Berman for the New Yorker on June 12 1995. Wilentz had the list Whitman’s addresses from the famous Gay Wilson Allen biography, although with no specific number address, it stated that in 1855 Whitman lived on Ryerson st north of Myrtle ave. Fueled by the destruction of other notable locations where Whitman lived or worked, Wilentz was eager to find the birth place of  “Leaves of Grass”. We call the house on Ryerson street the birth place of Leaves of Grass because it was here where Whitman lived while he wrote and published the poem. In the article Berman illustrates the day all three Whitman seekers set out to find exactly which house was in Whitman’s house. Another piece of evidence they used to locate the house was “Smith’s Brooklyn Directory” , here they found Whitman h. Walter, Whitman’s father, registered to Ryerson street north of Myrtle ave. They searched through microfilm of old tittle deeds and found Whitman’s mother Louisa Whitman held the deed at the time. And with all these clues it was then they could confirm 99 Ryerson street was Where Whitman lived in 1855.

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