walter whitman (1819 - 1892) was an american humanist and writer. he received schooling to the age of 11 and then went to work to support his family. whitman began as a legal clerk and continued his learning through apprenticeships, including as a printer’s devil. throughout his life, he was politically active and composed poems and essays in his free time, self-publishing the first edition of "leaves of grass" in 1855. at various points he worked as a government clerk, a school teacher, and in journalism. whitman lost his position as editor of the brooklyn eagle because of a political dispute with the newspaper’s owner. he said it wasn’t until after years of chasing customary awards that he decided to become a poet.
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