Walt Whitman Birthplace Association

Department: Curatorial
246 Old Walt Whitman Road
Huntington Station, New York 11746
Phone: (631) 427-5240
Margaret Guardi - (631) 427-5240 - curator@waltwhitman.org

Walt Whitman Birthplace Association


In 1819, Walt Whitman, widely recognized as America’s greatest poet, was born in a small farmhouse in the rural Long Island community of West Hills in the town of Huntington. Whitman’s writings are treasured for capturing the nation’s spirit during the nineteenth century and examining some of the era’s most significant events including westward expansion, immigration, slavery, and the Civil War.

Despite Whitman’s national prominence, during the twentieth century his family’s farmhouse in West Hills faced the continual threat of suburban encroachment. In 1949, Walt Whitman Birthplace Association (WWBA) was established to preserve his birthplace. Poets, authors, professors, businesspeople, and concerned citizens were among its founding members. To help raise awareness and funds to protect the farmhouse and its one-acre site, WWBA appealed to Alicia Patterson, then owner and publisher of Long Island’s newspaper Newsday. Patterson featured Whitman and the plight of his farmhouse on the cover of the newspaper and launched a fundraising campaign that inspired students across Long Island to collect pennies, nickels, and dimes for the cause. After three months and with widespread support, the Association purchased the property. Later, in 1957, WWBA was successful in its petition to Governor W. Averell Harriman to designate the birthplace a New York State Historic Site. In 1985, the property was listed on the NYS and National Registers of Historic Places. Today, the site is operated by WWBA in partnership with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP).

Walt Whitman Birthplace Association is a member of the Long Island Library Resources Council.


Walt Whitman Birthplace Association Archives

Document images from the archives