Engraving by Chas Skinner (1879)

To make perfect bookends of Whitman’s collected portraits is this engraving (right) completed after her death, referencing the first portrait ever done of the poetess (left) by Cephas Giovanni Thompson at the prime of her life.

Skinner’s engraving of Whitman was commissioned and published in her final volume of poetry simply titled Poems by Sarah Helen Whitman published a year after her death. Whitman had prepared this volume while on her deathbed, with the intent to have it published posthumously. The remaining money from her estate (after her contributions to various charitable causes and a considerable sum to each of her caretakers) funded the publication of this book. Poems was second to her 1853 published volume of poetry titled Hours of Life and Other Poems.