Founded in 1941, The Thoreau SocietyTM is the oldest and largest organization devoted to an American author.

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"I wish to speak a word for Nature, for absolute freedom and wildness, as contrasted with a freedom and culture merely civil—to regard man as an inhabitant, or a part and parcel of Nature, rather than a member of society." "Walking," Thoreau


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Henry D. Thoreau

The struggle for social and environmental justice

Henry David Thoreau saw the exploitation of people and of nature as two sides of the same coin of injustice and oppression. In his own day, he decried an economic and political system that countenanced human bondage even as it despoiled nature. As he asks in “Slavery in Massachusetts,” “[W]hat signifies the beauty of nature when men are base?”

The Thoreau Society continues our namesake’s struggle to open all eyes to social and environmental injustice, and to end blindness to the consequences of unchecked racism, climate change, and other threats to individual freedom, democratic equality, and social justice in the United States and around the world. As a community devoted to Thoreau’s legacy, we are a work-in-progress, committed to the perpetual challenge of improving the Thoreau Society as an embodiment—and a promoter—of these ideals.


Thoreau Bust

The Thoreau Society is pleased to announce the sixth annual Marjorie Harding Memorial Fellowship, generously funded by the Harding family. The fellowship honors the life and legacy of Marjorie Brook Harding, who worked diligently to bring together the Thoreau Society, the Walden Woods Project, and SUNY Geneseo to advance Thoreau studies and conservation of Thoreau Country and to keep alive the legacy of Walter Harding, Marjorie’s husband, an early leader in Thoreau studies. The fruits of this labor can be seen in the Digital Thoreau Project ( and in the annual Walter Harding Lecture Series at SUNY Geneseo.

Adams Woods

The Thoreau Society is pleased to announce the third annual Thoreau Country Conservation Alliance (TCCA) Graduate Student Fellowship. The fellowship is named in honor of the TCCA, which was formed in the 1980s with leadership from Thoreau Society members. TCCA advocated for the protection of Walden Woods from development. The TCCA Graduate Student Fellowship is made possible by support from an anonymous donor in memory of J. Walter Brain, who was a founding member of TCCA. The establishment of the fellowship coincides with the acquisition of the J. Walter Brain papers, which detail Mr. Brain’s many decades of advocacy for Walden Woods and his intimate explorations of Walden Woods’ natural and social history.