Friday, April 24, 2009

Walt Whitman's Print Shop In Brooklyn Heights, Revisited

The red brick print shop in Brooklyn Heights where Walt Whitman set the type for the first edition of “Leaves of Grass” in 1855 was torn down years ago to build Whitman Close co-ops (at 75 Henry Street.)

We've been told that the bricks were saved, however, and embedded in the ground around this planter near the A train stop on Cadman Plaza West.

Photo by MK Metz

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7 comments:

Anonymous said...

75 Henry was NOT the site of the printer that did "Leaves of Grass". The site of the printer is now occupied by the tower at 101 Clark Street, which is also called "Whitman Towers".

(Person who remembers when that building was an open field full of rubble)

Anonymous said...

Also, the "planter" was originally a fountain for children to play in, but it apparently leaked so much it was dry for most of the years since being built. The bricks used here have been here since these buildings, including 140 Cadman Plaza West and 75 Henry Street were built. It's possible the bricks were reused from other buildings on the site, but not probable.

(same guy as above)

mcbrooklyn said...

According to tour guides like the Big Onion Guide to Brooklyn, Whitman's print shop was at the corner of Cranberry and Cadman Plaza West (then called Fulton Street. That's the present location of the Whitman Close townhouses, part of the 75 Henry St. complex -- not 101 Clark. See:
http://books.google.com/books?id=OH5_YHK-dMYC&pg=PA13&lpg=PA13&dq=James+and+Andrew+Rome+print+fulton+st+brooklyn&source=bl&ots=ChVNiubhgv&sig=yLtgxJy22G0Ep7N-9-JWkrFXbqs&hl=en&ei=dqDzSdytNJTDtwf94sS9Dw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=7#PPA13,M1

mcbrooklyn said...

Also see the Whitman archive:
"He talked a friend, Andrew Rome, who was a job printer with a tiny shop on Fulton and Cranberry Streets in Brooklyn, into printing the book."
http://www.whitmanarchive.org/criticism/current/anc.00150.html

Note that Fulton is now called Cadman Plaza West. Cranberry and Fulton is the site of the old fountain pictured above.

PBK said...

That is awesome!

"Whatever it is, it avails not--distance avails not, and place avails not,

I too lived, Brooklyn of ample hills was mine,
Closer yet I approach you,
What thought you have of me now, I had as much of you--I laid in my stores in advance,
I consider'd long and seriously of you before you were born."

krgmjgmama said...

The print shop was actually that of the Rome Brothers...my great uncles. Whitman helped lay type. Most original copies were burned as rubbish...there is an original copy at Duke university...

bj said...

That's amazing krgmjgmama. Have you been in touch with the Brooklyn Historical Society?