About Us: Mission, Vision & Goals

Founded in 1941, The Thoreau Society, Inc. is the largest and oldest organization devoted to an American author.  The Society has members from more than twenty countries around the world, the Penobscot Nation, and all fifty U.S. states. The Thoreau Society is committed to diversity and inclusion, and welcomes people of all ages, ethnicities, gender expressions and identities, origins, physical abilities, races, religions, and sexual orientations. In Walden, Thoreau wrote, “I desire that there may be as many different persons in the world as possible.”  The Thoreau Society likewise recognizes that the contributions of all will continue to result in a more vital organization and a more vital world.


The Thoreau Society exists to stimulate interest in and foster education about Thoreau’s life, works, legacy and his place in his world and in ours, challenging all to live a deliberate, considered life.


The Thoreau Society keeps Thoreau's writings and ideas alive around the globe and across generations.

Organizational Goals

  • To encourage research on Thoreau’s life and works and to act as a repository for Thoreau-related materials
  • To educate the public about Thoreau’s ideas and their application to contemporary life
  • To preserve Thoreau’s legacy and advocate for the preservation of Thoreau country
  • Read the Thoreau Society By-Laws

The Thoreau Society's offices

The Thoreau Society's offices are located at the birth house of Henry D. Thoreau (341 Virginia Road, Concord, Massachusetts), near Minute Man National Historical Park. The Society leases its office space from the Thoreau Farm Trust.

Concord, MA

Concord, where the American War for Independence began on April 19, 1775, was also home to the "second American Revolution," a revolution of ideas.  Learn more about the Concord authors, including Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888), and Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864).

Publications of The Thoreau Society

Established in 1941, the Thoreau Society has long contributed to the dissemination of knowledge about Thoreau by collecting books, manuscripts, and artifacts relating to Thoreau and his contemporaries, by encouraging the use of its collections, and by publishing two periodicals, The Thoreau Society Bulletin and the Concord Saunterer: A Journal of Thoreau Studies.

The Thoreau Society Annual Gathering & Conferences

Through an annual gathering in Concord, and through sessions devoted to Thoreau at the Modern Language Association (MLA), the American Literature Association's (ALA), and the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE), the Thoreau Society provides opportunities for all those interested in Thoreau – dedicated readers and followers, as well as the leading scholars in the field – to gather and share their knowledge of Thoreau and his times.

Library Collections of The Thoreau Society

The Thoreau Society archives are housed at the Thoreau Institute at Walden Woods in Lincoln, Massachusetts. This repository includes the collections of Walter Harding and Raymond Adams, two of the foremost authorities on Thoreau and founders of the Thoreau Society; and those of Roland Robbins, who uncovered Thoreau's Walden house site. Learn more.

Membership in The Thoreau Society

Thoreau Society members represent a wide range of professions, interests, cities and towns across the United States and around the world. They are connected by the conviction that Henry D. Thoreau had important things to say and crucial questions to ask that remain just as significant in our time as they were in his.  Through its programs, publications and projects, the Thoreau Society is committed to exploring Thoreau's observations on living with self, society and nature, and encouraging people to think about how they live their lives. Join now.