The Open Road
Presented by the Library of Congress

June 27- August 31, 2005

Open Road

Since Colonial times the "open road" has been a potent symbol and provocative myth, mixed
firmly into the foundation of the United States. It has also been a recurring and powerful literary
motif; expressed in Walt Whitman's' 'Song of the Open Road' and other poetic works, in the
writings of Mark Twain, the transcendental musings of wanderers like Henry Thoreau and
John Muir, in the landscape photography of William Henry Jackson and in the fiction of writers
like Jack London and Jack Kerouac.

The Open Road traces the birth and growth of this evocative concept through the words and
images of those who helped define this nation, its ideas and ideals.


Open Road Exhibit

Open Road Exhibit 2

Open Road Exhibit 3

Walt Whitman

Song of the Open Road

“A foot and light-hearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.

Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune,
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,
Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms,
Strong and content I travel the open road..."
  Walt Whitman

LOCATION: 2nd floor gallery
Curator: Library of Congress

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This page was modified March 6, 2008 rmw