Long Island's Hidden Past: Walt Whitman's family Bible

The Bible is on display at the Walt Whitman Birthplace.

The Bible is on display at the Walt Whitman Birthplace. (5/5/15)

MELVILLE - It was known for decades that it existed, but historians were not sure what had happened to Walt Whitman's family Bible.

Last May, a woman who had been married to the great-great-great-grandson of Whitman's sister decided it was time to bring the Bible back to where it belonged.

For five generations, the Bible had been protected and cared for.

Cynthia Shor, Director of the Walt Whitman Birthplace in Melville, picked up the 20-pound Bible from the descendent who lived in Florida.

Up until then, Long Island historians only knew the Bible had at one time existed, and that it was a Christmas gift from Whitman to his sister Mary Elizabeth in 1878.

Once in the historians' hands - each page carefully turned - another hidden gem was uncovered.

"When you open it up, you are surprised by the dedication Whitman wrote to his sister," says curator Richard Ryan.

Inside there's poetry and, in Whitman's own handwriting, the family genealogy. Tucked inside the Bible there's also a lock of his mother's hair.

The Bible is on display at the Walt Whitman Birthplace.

More on this topic

advertisement | advertise on News 12

Top 5 Must See

The fire broke out around 2 a.m. Sunday 1 3 injured in early morning Central Islip house fire
The Daily Show correspondent Hasan Minhaj stands at 2 Journalists honor 1st Amendment as Trump hosts rally
A Coast Guard crew has rescued two boaters 3 Coast Guard rescues 2 from sinking vessel off Montauk
4 Woman accused of kicking officers during arrest
Dr. Melinda Edwards taught and inspired the students 5 Former students surprise Baldwin H.S. chorus teacher

advertisement | advertise on News 12

More News

News 12 digs deep to find Long Island's Long Island's Hidden Past

News 12 digs deep to find Long Island's hidden past.

Sorry to interrupt...

Your first 5 are free

Access to News12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service Electric℠ video customers.

Please enjoy 5 complimentary views to articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.