Walt Whitman (1819-1892) is known today as the father of free verse, and of American poetry itself. He stirred controversy in his day with his masterful epic Leaves of Grassthe poem’s theme, form, and content broke new ground. Whitman was a volunteer nurse during the American Civil War, as well as a journalist and essayist. He wrote several works of prose, including Democratic Vistas and Specimen Days.
Anne Gilchrist (1828–1885) was an English writer best remembered for her friendship with Whitman. Editor Thomas B. Harned was Whitman’s friend and one of his literary executors.