What Jobs Did Walt Whitman Have


Walt Whitman was an influential and amazing American poet, essayist, journalist, and humanist, who remains one of the most well-known poets in the world today. Although his most prominent work came from his poems and literary essays, Whitman was no stranger to various jobs throughout his life. In this article, we will explore the various jobs Whitman had in his life and how they contributed to his success.

Early Schooling

As a child, Walt Whitman followed in the footsteps of many of his peers in attending school and refined his skills there. Although he received a formal education from the schools he attended, it was not sufficient for the Whitman family, who wanted him to have the best education possible. In order to achieve this goal, Whitman educated himself at home in a variety of fields, such as mathematics, Latin, rhetoric, geology, art, and logic.

Early Writing Career

Whitman’s passion for writing began as early as his teenage years, when he started writing short stories and poems. After leaving school, Whitman worked as a printer’s apprentice and contributed to various newspapers and periodicals, such as the Long Islander and New World.
Whitman’s writing career was beginning to take off when he wrote and published his first book, “Leaves of Grass,” in 1855. This book was a significant milestone in Whitman’s career and made him an internationally renowned poet.

Freelance Journalism

Throughout the later years of his life, Whitman worked as a freelance journalist, writing and editing articles and content for various newspapers and periodicals. He had an immense love for journalism, and believed in the power of journalism to provide truthful and meaningful information to the public.
At the same time, Whitman was actively writing and publishing his poetry, essays, and stories. He was able to use his skills as a journalist to promote and spread his writings. As a result, Whitman became one of the most influential poets of all time.

Teaching and Lecturing

At the same time, Whitman was also deeply involved in teaching and lecturing. He taught classes in creative writing, literature, and other subjects.
He was passionate about inspiring and nurturing younger minds, and was acclaimed for his lectures and classes. He often used his classes as an opportunity to share his thoughts on life and the human experience, and these experiences were reflected in his writings.

Final Years

Towards the end of his life, Whitman continued to write and lecture, but had to retire from teaching due to deteriorating health. He continued to work independently and had a close relationship with a group of writers and friends he had formed over the years.
He lived a long and fulfilling life and was surrounded by friends and family until his death in 1892. His legacy remains to this day, and his writings and accomplishments still have a significant impact on modern American and world culture.

Political Involvement

Throughout his life, Whitman was an outspoken advocate of progressive politics. He supported various causes such as women’s suffrage, civil rights, and social reform. His writing often addressed these topics, and he was a frequent contributor to various progressive magazines and newspapers.
He was also an ardent supporter of President Abraham Lincoln and dedicated several of his poems to the late president.

Religious and Spiritual Beliefs

Whitman was an advocate of religious toleration and spirituality. He believed that there was a spiritual truth, or a higher power, that all people could access through faith and contemplation, and he addressed this belief in his writing.
He was not affiliated with any specific religious tradition, and his views on faith were inclusive and accepting of all people. He believed that everyone should have the freedom to follow their own spiritual path and his writings reflect this conviction.

Influence on American Culture

Walt Whitman’s influence on American culture has been immense. His work has been an enduring source of inspiration for poets, writers, and thinkers around the world. In addition to his writing, he was an ardent advocate of progressive values and social reform.
He was a proponent of religious freedom, civil rights, and gender equality, and his beliefs were reflected in his writing and life. His legacy continues to inspire people to this day, and he will be remembered for generations to come.


Walt Whitman was an immense talent and a multifaceted individual who had a profound impact on American culture and literature. Although he began his life as a schoolboy, followed by a stint as a printer apprentice, Whitman had many more ventures in between. From writing and publishing his own work, to teaching, lecturing and freelancing, Whitman managed to maintain many different jobs throughout his life.
These experiences undoubtedly provided Whitman with the insight, knowledge, and experience to produce some of the most iconic works of art in American literature. His influence can still be seen today, of which he would surely have been proud.

Dannah Hannah is an established poet and author who loves to write about the beauty and power of poetry. She has published several collections of her own works, as well as articles and reviews on poets she admires. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English, with a specialization in poetics, from the University of Toronto. Hannah was also a panelist for the 2017 Futurepoem book Poetry + Social Justice, which aimed to bring attention to activism through poetry. She lives in Toronto, Canada, where she continues to write and explore the depths of poetry and its influence on our lives.

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