We bought Leaves of Grass hot off the press in 1855. Whitman himself came by a few years later.

Belles Lettres at the Library Company

In the early years, the Library Company acquired works of literature through purchases from London booksellers made by agents on our behalf or through gifts. The 1741 catalog, published on our tenth anniversary, listed a set of Montaigne’s…
Link to Exhibit, McAllister Civil War Homefront

Treasures from the Library Company of Philadelphia

The minutes of the Library Company Board of Directors meeting of April 4, 1886, relate that "a communication was received from Mr. John A. McAllister offering to give the company a collection of illustrations and printed matter relating…