Thursday, May 12, 2016

Walt Whitman's Notebooks...!

You would think that when the government is handed over something to care for, then they are safe...right?

Unfortunately this isn't always the case. true, these were only notebooks containing the notes and documents of one of our most celebrated poets. It's not like they were atomic weapons or anything of that importance (even those have been lost, misplaced, or stolen). Still, there is no excuse for this kind of poor handling of something so valuable and non-replaceable.

Walt Whitman’s notebooks

Walt Whitman’s notebooks. (Credit: Public Domain)

In the early 1940s, during World War II, the Library of Congress packed up a number of valuable items in its collections, including 10 notebooks once belonging to celebrated poet Walt Whitman (1819-92), and sent them to locations outside of Washington, D.C., for safekeeping. Sometime during the process, Whitman’s notebooks, which had been donated to the library in 1918 by one of his literary executors, disappeared and were thought stolen. Prized by scholars, the notebooks contained early versions of material that later appeared in Whitman’s famous 1855 book of poetry, “Leaves of Grass,” and also included a chronicle of Whitman’s time as a nurse for the Union Army during the U.S. Civil War. In 1995, some 50 years after the notebooks went missing, four of them re-appeared at Sotheby’s auction house in New York, brought there by a man who’d discovered them among his deceased father’s possessions. According to the man, his father had been given the notebooks as a gift and kept them for three decades. The man didn’t realize the notebooks, which in 1995 were reportedly worth as much as $500,000, had been stolen. Sotheby’s returned the notebooks to the Library of Congress; the whereabouts of the other six volumes remains unknown.

Now, I realize that there was a war going on but still, more care should have given these notebooks, if only because of their historical value! I wonder what else they manage to "lose?"

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Better bring an umbrella just in case.


Chickenmom said...

"They" lose anything they don't want us to know about. Don't send that rain up our way - had enough of it!

linda m said...

Gee, some how I am not surprised that the government lost something. Wonder how many other "important" items they have lost? Rain up here also. Sure wish I would see some sunshine.

HermitJim said...

Hey Phyllis...
Sometimes I feel the government just doesn't care about stuff like this.
Thanks for stopping by today!

Hey Linda...
Bet they have lost a lot more than we will ever know!
Thanks for coming over this morning!

Dizzy-Dick said...

If it doesn't profit the PTB or further their agenda, they just don't care.

JO said...

So sad but I'm not surprised by this story. If they casn lose Trillions of dollars why not priceless poetry.

Sorry I'm late but couldn't resist the porch but already at 10:30 driven back in by the heat.