Why Famous: Among the most influential poets in the American canon, often called the father of free verse.
He was part of the transition between transcendentalism and realism, incorporating both views in his works.
Whitman was also a teacher, a journalist and for three years during the American Civil War, famously a volunteer nurse.
Seeing his brother George wounded at the Battle of Fredericksburg, while serving with the Union Army in 1862 motivated him to visit and care for wounded soldiers. Whitman estimated he made 600 hospital visits and visited 100,000 wounded Union and Confederate soldiers during this time.
- 1855-07-04 In Brooklyn, New York, the first edition of Walt Whitman's book of poems, "Leaves of Grass" is published
- "Keep your face always toward the sunshine - and shadows will fall behind you."