Walt Whitman was born May 31, 1819 in West Hills, New York. He was the second oldest of 8 children. His parents loved the United States. So much that his younger brother's names were George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Andrew Jackson Whitman. Walt Whitman lived on a farm for a short time after he was born, but it was sold by his father. This turned out to be a bad financial choice because after selling the land, Whitman's father struggled trying to regain financial balance as a carpenter and a real estate speculator. At age 11, his parents took him out of school to help provide for the family. His first job was an office boy for an attorney team. He later went into the printing business for a few more years. By the time he was 17, he was a teacher. He taught for 5 years in Long Island. After teaching, Whitman went on to work as an editor for 4 different newspapers: The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, The Crescent, The Brooklyn Freeman, and a newspaper he started, but shortly after was shut down, The Long Islander. Whitman was a great poet, but even with his brilliant poems and books, he still looked towards people like Homer, Dante, and Shakespeare for inspiration, and works such as the Bible.
1855 is the year Whitman writes his first edition of Leaves of Grass. This is the first edition of 12 untitled poems that he publishes himself. The second edition was published a year later. It had 33 different poems in it. Whitman spent much time refining these books and added on to the series throughout his life. He also wrote many other books including, Song of Myself, Drum-Taps, and Democratic Vistas.
In his final years of his life, Whitman suffered a stroke that left him partially paralyzed. After his stroke, he visited his mother who tragically died three days later. On March 26, 1892 Walt Whitman passed away in Camden, New Jersey. Up until his death he continued to work on Leaves of Grass even with his health deteriorating so quickly. Walt Whitman was easily one of the greatest poets of his generation, and even of all time and his works will continue to be read by millions.