Whitman's butterfly.

This piece, part of the Library of Congress's Walt Whitman collections, is the best thing I've found all day, hands down. You may recognize this butterfly from such productions as this photograph of Whitman

of which the Library of Congress's website notes:

[Alice] Birney said a famous 1880 photograph portrayed Whitman, with long gray beard and broad-brimmed hat, seated with a butterfly on an outstretched finger. Scholars concluded that the butterfly in the photo was in fact the cardboard model found among Whitman's papers after his death in 1892. Ever the self-promoter, Birney said, Whitman liked to convey an image of himself as one-with-nature.
(I know that there are those among you who will be delighted to learn of the fauxness of this natural pose.)

I live for this stuff. For next year, I want to find an archive where I can just say, "Bring me your coolness, and I shall write about it."

source for tonight's images: "Poet at Work: Walt Whitman Notebooks 1850s-1860s," at the Library of Congress's American Memory website.