W.H. Trimble. A Concordance of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass. Unpublished typescript. Dunedin, 1909. Two volumes, Vol. 1 displayed.
W.H. Trimble’s most ambitious project was his Concordance of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass which he began in 1903 or 1904 “in a moment of rashness and enthusiasm”, with Annie Trimble sharing the workload. Trimble subsequently discovered that the Whitman biographer Isaac Hull Platt (1853-1912) was working on a concordance simultaneously in America. Trimble and Platt agreed to compile the Concordance together, with Trimble working “like a crab, backward”, from the end. An ailing Platt eventually decided he could not continue and asked the Trimbles to complete the Concordance alone and take full credit. The Concordance was finally finished by Mr and Mrs Trimble in 1909, doubtless not coincidentally, on Whitman’s birthday, 31 May.
In 1909, Trimble sent a typed copy of his Concordance to Platt, who shared it with Horace Traubel (1858-1919), a friend and biographer of Whitman. Platt tried to arrange for it to be published but his health was in decline and he died in 1912 - but not before approaching Henry Scholey Saunders (1864-1951) of Toronto. Saunders became Trimble’s chief correspondent and the greatest of all Whitman collectors. Despite the best efforts of Saunders and Traubel, Trimble’s Concordance was never published, and one of only two existing typescripts, bound into two volumes, is held in Dunedin’s Whitman Collection.