When I Heard the Learn’d Digital Humanist

I decided to visit Walt Whitman’s birthplace, located in Huntington Station, NY, for several reasons. I’ve been meaning to visit the house for a long time, even though it lies only 10 or so miles from my parents’ house. I also attempted to teach a few Whitman poems earlier this semester. In the past I would drive by the site all the time, frequent the nearby Walt Whitman Mall, and was aware of Long Islanders’ pride in their favorite poet’s origins. I suppose next I’m supposed to visit the home of Billy Joel, from a town known as Oyster Bay, Long Island.


I took a tour of the grounds and the house itself, where Walt Whitman Sr. practiced carpentry. I walked through the parlor, kitchen, master bedroom, spare bedroom, and servant’s quarters. As you can imagine, everything looks very old, and it would have been quite easy to hit my head on the low ceiling going up the steps. The Whitmans owned a host of useful tools that are no longer necessary anymore, such as a giant loom, bed rope stretcher stick (can’t remember what it is actually called, but apparently this is where the saying “sleep tight” comes from), and even a hoop and stick.


My visit to Walt Whitman’s birthplace was quite enjoyable. Many thanks to my father for joining me on his busy Sunday afternoon.




20130324_163435 QRCode_02Yib

Note: I could not secure a more significant spot to place the QR Code, such as the statue, the house, ect., as I was being watched by the tour guide and did not want to get kicked out for vandalism. So the grass would have to do. For some reason the picture does not work when I try to scan it with my phone (bad resolution?), so I also included the original code file.

13 thoughts on “When I Heard the Learn’d Digital Humanist

  1. You have to scan it with the three squares aligned like they are in the original file (versus your photo, in which the code has been rotated to the right) – that might be why it didn’t work so great… :P

  2. Ha! That makes sense. I swear my phone rotated the image after I took the picture, but I also didn’t think of aligning it first.

  3. Nice, Dan. Curious what you think of the Whitman Archive in relation to the homestead. Are they both “archives”? Of what sort? Or something else? How does the physical site, with all of its powerful associations, change in significance as it stands in relation to all of the virtual Walts? (Btw, my new shorthand name for the Whitman Archive: the Walt Vault.)

  4. Matt, I wouldn’t consider the birthplace an archive, no matter which definition you use. While the Whitman Archive can be considered a collection of materials, with added commentary, the birthplace is concerned more with contextualizing Whitman’s very early life and the type of environment his family may have lived in.

    There is a very modest, one room exhibit (which is where I took the photograph of the Leaves of Grass manuscript), but the main draw is the homestead itself. Here, they attempted to recreate how the home may have been maintained. I don’t think they’re trying to change or present alternate versions of the Whitman we think we know so much as provide a historical perspective. In fact, more attention in the tour is given to Whitman, Sr., who built the house, than his son, but this may have been because the family moved when Walt was only 5 or so.

    In any case, the model they’re going for here is more the museum than the (digital) archive, where history is put on display rather than collected and collated. Is this also a type of archive? Maybe others would say so, but I wouldn’t.

    (I am also a big fan of the Walt Vault.)

  5. Wow, this is eerily familiar. So, this is also <10 miles from my birthplace (probably more like 2), and I find its proximity to the Walt Whitman Mall to be a disgusting irony. I would have loved to see photos of the poetry on the inside and the outside of the mall, its own kind of place-based or "placial" archive that literally inscribes Whitman's work onto the spaces of consumption and exchange. I'm wondering about how Whitman's poetry helps us practice or produce space differently in the mall than it would in the context of his birthplace or the classroom.

    PS, I may have told you this already but my step-dad almost ran over Billy Joel. On purpose. Near his birthplace.

  6. Most people who visit that mall probably aren’t aware that Whitman’s actual home is 2 minutes away. I know I wasn’t (I thought it was even closer to my house). It would be nice if they paid tribute to the guy outside of the name of the mall itself. Although it’s possible they did and I just never noticed (maybe they printed lines of poetry on the walls/ceiling in the middle area? There’s definitely something there).

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  8. En cualquier instalación de servicios climatización, se utilizan máquinas para mover los fluidos de trabajo y por tanto el conocimiento de las bombas, ventiladores y compresores permitirá la elección correcta de las mismas para que los sistemas trabajen correctamente y con un máximo aprovechamiento energético. Está adaptado al cumplimiento del RITE y todo se expone de forma clara y práctica, siendo una herramienta muy útil para el profesional, técnico y estudiante del tema. A partir de la instalación de 3 tipos de equipos de aire acondicionado, según tamaño, potencia, equipo, etc., se desarrolla un manual eminentemente práctico para la instalación de estos equipos y su mantenimiento.

  9. Hay que tener en cuenta que son equipos muy compactos y no pueden montar vasos muy voluminosos … Además en esas potencias tan altas en las que dan servicio a viviendas grandes seguro que hay que complementarlo. Necesito una solucion, la maquina funciona muy bien y el tecnico que viene no sabe porque le pasa esto, porque cuando a venido el no da el fallo.. a ver si me puedes ayudar por favor. El 20 de noviembre, vino el técnico a limpiar la caldera, pero la cosa empeoró.

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