Every Hour, Every Atom: Transcribing Whitman’s Notebooks Panelist Discussion

Thursday, June 3rd, 2021 6:30 – 7:30PM EST

WWBA is delighted to celebrate Pride Month with a panel discussion about Walt Whitman’s notebooks. This program highlights two different kinds of collaborative projects involving transcriptions: the scholarly edition Every Hour, Every Atom: A Collection of Walt Whitman’s Early Notebooks & Fragments (University of Iowa, 2020) edited by professors Zachary Turpin, PhD and Matt Miller, PhD; and Whitman Diaries & Notebooks, the new “By the People” crowdsourcing transcription project (launching May 26, 2021), for which Abigail Shelton serves as a community manager. Barbara Bair, PhD, Curator of Walt Whitman manuscript collections at the Library of Congress, will moderate this exciting discussion exploring Whitman’s personal notebooks.

Walt Whitman regularly carried small, often hand-made, notebooks with him and used them to jot down information of all kinds. He sorted out ideas for poetry and freelance writing, drafted trial lines, mused about philosophy, and made note or observations about people and places he encountered, from men on the streets of New York to the wounded and ill in wartime hospitals.

Zachary Turpin, PhD is an assistant professor of American literature at the University of Idaho and a former Kluge Fellow at the Library of Congress. A scholar of 19th-century American periodical culture and digital-archival research, he specializes in recovering the lost writings of 19th-century authors. He has rediscovered two book-length works by Walt Whitman (the 1852 novel Life and Adventures of Jack Engle, and the 1858 men’s wellness tract Manly Health and Training), as well as unknown writings by Emma Lazarus, Kate Chopin, L. Frank Baum, Anne Sexton, and more. He is currently writing a book for Liveright on literary rediscoveries, thefts, and forgeries, and his articles have appeared in the Walt Whitman Quarterly Review and elsewhere.

Matt Miller, PhD is an associate professor of English and Chair of the Department at Yeshiva University’s Stern College in Manhattan, where he teaches American literature and creative writing. His work on Whitman includes Collage of Myself: Walt Whitman and the Making of Leaves of Grass, published by the University of Nebraska Press, and more recently, Every Hour, Every Atom: A Collection of Walt Whitman’s Early Notebooks and Fragments, co-edited with Zachary Turpin.

Barbara Bair, PhD is curator of Walt Whitman manuscript collections at the Library of Congress, where she is a historian in Literature, Culture, and the Arts and a member of the By the People Stakeholders committee.  Barbara earned her M.A. and Ph.D. at Brown University.

Abby Shelton is a Community Manager and Digital Collections Specialist for the By the People program at the Library of Congress. In her role, she supports the volunteers, collections, and software applications that make crowd-sourced transcription run smoothly. Abby has an MA in US History from Binghamton University (SUNY) and a MSI in Library & Science from Drexel University.