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Annual Candlelight Dinner – Walt Whitman’s Life in Camden County presented by Dave Stedman

February 24, 2015 Events No Comments
Walt Whitman photo  courtesy Library of Congress

Walt Whitman photo courtesy Library of Congress

Join us for the Annual Candlelight Dinner this year!
(Deadline extended to March 23!)

Walt Whitman’s arrival in Camden, NJ in 1873, may have been “originally an accident” in his words, but it was certainly a happy one for those who cherish the great poet and his unique imprint on local history. Traces of his influence can be found in his carefully preserved home on Mickle Street, in the memorial he helped design at his final resting place in Harleigh Cemetery, and in the tales of his travels throughout the area, including some Haddonfield encounters. The Historical Society of Haddonfield is pleased to welcome David Stedman to share some of these stories and to map the Poet’s progress when he presents “Walt Whitman in Camden County” at the Society’s annual Candlelight Dinner on March 25.

Mr. Stedman has served as President of the Walt Whitman Association and has previously led tours of the Whitman House and Tomb. Trained as a Philadelphia tour guide, he has explored Old City, Valley Forge, the Powell House (built for Charles Stedman) and other historic sites. He is the Historian of the St. Andrew’s Society of Philadelphia and is on the local board of the Presbyterian Historical Society, while also serving as Secretary of the Abraham Lincoln Foundation. He has presented talks on Whitman throughout the area and across the state, including to the Haddon Fortnightly and the Haddonfield United Methodist Church.

After graduating cum laude from Dartmouth, Mr. Stedman studied at the University of London, traveled extensively through Africa and elsewhere, and pursued a life full of varied interests. He served as a schoolteacher in Camden for 32 years, winning honors as the City and County Teacher of the Year. He currently serves as President of the Clan Campbell Society and has led tours with the group in Scotland. A Haddonfield resident, he has devoted much time to local organizations such as the First Presbyterian Church and the Interfaith Caregivers.

In perhaps another happy accident, he was confirmed in his interest in Whitman by the poet’s quote regarding an early advocate, Edmund C. Stedman, of whom Whitman stated, “that Stedman is a lovely fellow.” We’re sure you’ll find Haddonfield’s Mr. Stedman the same. And, just as Whitman said of his accidental arrival, “but I shall never be sorry…. It has brought me blessed returns,” we know you will not regret joining with your Historical Society of Haddonfield friends, on purpose, to share fellowship and to celebrate Whitman’s life. (Take from The Bulletin article by Dave Stewart.)

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Funding provided by the Camden County Cultural and Heritage Commission at Camden County College, the officially designated county history agency of the New Jersey Historical Commission.

The Historical Society of Haddonfield is supported by a grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the federal CARES Act. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed on this web site do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.

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