Walt Whitman Mausoleum @ The Harleigh Cemetery - Camden, NJ
N 39° 55.631 W 075° 05.626
18S E 491987 N 4419679
Quick Description: Walt Whitman is buried in Harleigh Cemetery in a tomb of his own design. Thousands of adoring fans & poet scholars & anyone else just interested in history & culture visit this fascinating place where not only Whitman, but 5 relatives are buried.
Location: New Jersey, United States
Date Posted: 8/14/2009 2:04:06 PM
Waymark Code: WM70FN
Walter Whitman (May 31, 1819 – March 26, 1892) was an American poet, essayist, journalist, and humanist. Whitman is among the most influential poets in the American canon, often called the father of free verse. His work was very controversial in its time, particularly his poetry collection Leaves of Grass, which was described as obscene for its overt sexuality. (Wikipedia)
A public viewing of his body was held at his Camden home; over one thousand people visited in three hours and Whitman's oak coffin was barely visible because of all the flowers and wreaths left for him. He was buried in his tomb at Harleigh Cemetery in Camden four days after his death. Another public ceremony was held at the cemetery, with friends giving speeches, live music, and refreshments. Later, the remains of Whitman's parents and two of his brothers and their families were moved to the mausoleum. (Wikipedia)
It is evident many people visit here as some have left pennies on the hinges of the protective iron gate. The mausoleum is surrounded by mature trees with thick roots. The gray structure has a heavy granite door which is swung open but still more closely protected by this iron gate. Inside, one may peer and see the tombs of six of the Whitman family. In front of the mausoleum is a black, polished memorial to the local poet (see photo) with his picture on the front and an inscription on the top.
The Harleigh Cemetery, established in 1885, convinced Whitman to pick a plot here so they could increase business. It worked! After Whitman made his funeral arrangements to be buried here, their business in this working class neighborhood increased dramatically. This may have been the first rural cemetery built in this country.