APPRAISER: Walt Whitman came to be at the army
hospital because obviously the Civil War happened. He actually had a brother who
was in the war and he had heard that his brother had gotten wounded. So Walt
Whitman actually made a journey to find out whether his brother was well or not.
He got down there found his brother actually in not bad health, it wasn’t
serious. but as Walt Whitman went on this journey he saw the devastation of war. He
saw the sickness, the illness the amputations, the dead, all the destruction
from the war. Even though he got and found his brother well he wanted to help.
He wasn’t going to be a soldier and that’s how, when he got back to
Washington, he volunteered. And he helped many of the soldiers as a volunteer and
one of the main things he also did was transcribing, writing, helping, them
communicate with their families which, if you’re a soldier of any type,
communication with home is invaluable. But obviously if you’re in the hospital,
not feeling well, it’s even more so. That was the way he contributed. One of the
things that you really look forward to on the ANTIQUES ROADSHOW, and this
happened in 2014 in Chicago, it’s something that will come in that you, as
an appraiser, realize is something special. Maybe a letter of George
Washington or Abraham Lincoln or Albert Einstein. In Chicago, it was Walt Whitman.
You get to touch it you get to put your little finger on it actually hold it,
and read it. And I’ve done this all my life. I mean literally I was in the store
with my father when I was five years old, that was a long time ago, and still
touching something like that, seeing it, holding it for the first time, still
sends a thrill up my spine. And I love it. And that’s one of the great joys of
doing this type of work and being at the ANTIQUES ROADSHOW.