Walt Whitman in Washington

This walk is given in conjunction with Whitman 200, a city-wide celebration of the bicentennial of Walt Whitman's birth.

Walt Whitman, poet laureate of the U.S. Civil War, resided in Washington, D.C. for ten years, first as a hospital volunteer who tended tens of thousands of wounded soldiers, and then as a federal government clerk. Join Garrett Peck, author of the just-published Walt Whitman in Washington, D.C.: The Civil War and America’s Great Poet, for a walk identifying Whitman-related sites in downtown, starting with the Smithsonian American Art Museum/National Portrait Gallery. Originally constructed to house the U.S. Patent Office, Whitman both volunteered and worked in the building.

From there it’s a short distance to the newly-opened Clara Barton’s Missing Soldiers Office, site of a remarkable historic discovery related to the Civil War. At Ford’s Theatre, Whitman’s partner, Peter Doyle, witnessed the assassination of Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1865. Keep your eyes open for two Whitman quotes inscribed on a sidewalk traversed by hundreds of pedestrians each day and not a few skate boarders. Both the majestic U.S. Treasury Building and chic W Hotel Washington have important ties to Walt Whitman’s D.C. legacy. The walk concludes at the former, where Peck will be glad to sign his new book for you.  (Walt Whitman in Washington, D.C.: The Civil War and America’s Great Poet is available for pre-purchase online here.)

PLEASE NOTE: This walking tour will begin at 11:30 a.m.


"Garrett knows his subject well and he comfortably takes us from place to place while making both the educational and walking experiences enjoyable." - TripAdvisor reviewer


People who liked this D.C. walking tour also liked: Abraham Lincoln's Washington and Walt Whitman and Congressional Cemetery


Out of an abundance of caution in regard to the coronavirus (COVID-19), Washington Walks will not be offering walking tours in 2020. 

Approximately 2 hours
No reservations necessary. Simply show up!

$20 per person (kids 3 and younger free). $5 discount with U.S. military or federal government ID. Pay in advance or with cash or a credit card when you arrive.

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Embarks from outside Gallery Place-Chinatown Metro station’s 9th Street/Galleries exit (southeast corner of 9th and G Streets, NW.)
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