Research Programs: Scholarly Editions and Translations

Period of Performance

7/1/2017 - 6/30/2020

Funding Totals

$300,000.00 (approved)
$299,999.99 (awarded)

Unearthing The "Buried Masterpiece" of American Literature: A Digital Variorum of the 1855 Leaves of Grass

FAIN: RQ-249901-16

University of Nebraska, Lincoln (Lincoln, NE 68503-2427)
Kenneth Price (Project Director: December 2015 to January 2024)
Ed Folsom (Co Project Director: February 2016 to January 2024)

Preparation for online publication of 19th-century American author Walt Whitman's first edition of Leaves of Grass, as part of an existing digital archive devoted to Whitman. See website at

The Walt Whitman Archive seeks NEH support to edit the first edition of Leaves of Grass and the constellation of draft documents that contributed to it by developing a digital variorum of this edition of Leaves from manuscript and notebook beginnings through its many variations in print. Whitman wrote the poetry, designed the book, and set some of the type, and his first Leaves was stunning both as verse and as a material object. This project will entail careful work on at least ninety-nine manuscripts contributing to the volume. Our goals are to advance understanding of this paradigm-shifting book and to enable future scholarship by drawing on some of the opportunities for representation unique to digital editing.

Media Coverage

UNL researchers scouring Whitman texts for clues to poet's process (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Chris Dunker
Publication: Lincoln Journal Star
Date: 9/3/2016
Abstract: With the current NEH grant, work begins on a variorum of the original 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass.

Associated Products

Unearthing the Buried Masterpiece of American Literature (Web Resource)
Title: Unearthing the Buried Masterpiece of American Literature
Author: Kenneth Price
Abstract: Funding and support provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the US Department of Education, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, University of Iowa, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, and the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities at the University of Virginia.
Year: 2016
Primary URL: http://

Variorum of Leaves of Grass (1855) (Database/Archive/Digital Edition)
Title: Variorum of Leaves of Grass (1855)
Author: Nicole Gray
Author: Kenneth M. Price
Author: Ed Folsom
Author: Brett Barney
Author: Stephanie Blalock
Author: Brandon James O'Neil
Author: Matt Cohen
Author: Caitlin Henry
Author: Kevin McMullen
Abstract: The variorum of Leaves of Grass (1855) documents the manuscript origins of the first edition of Leaves of Grass and highlights the differences among copies.
Year: 2020
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: This url takes the user to these pathways: Introduction Instructions Editorial Policy Related Documents Page Viewer Variorum Main Text Reviews and Extracts (insertion) Comparison Viewer Bibliography of Copies
Secondary URL: not applicable
Secondary URL Description: not applicable
Access Model: open access