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"I have great faith in a seed," H.D. Thoreau.


Thoreau portrait

In the wake of the 2017 bicentennial of Thoreau's birth and the publication of Laura Dassow Walls's Henry David Thoreau: A Life, the Thoreau Society panel at MLA 2019 will consider how biography and the biographical shape scholarship on Thoreau, the teaching of Thoreau, and Thoreau's reputation.  

How does biography shape Thoreau studies,...

Thoreau's Journal, 1856

From the Morgan Library & Museum:

Thoreau’s Journal: A Life of Listening

Listen to Thoreau’s personal reflections on nature, friendship, slavery, and society. 

For a quarter century, American author Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862) filled notebook after notebook with his observations and reflections, strong in the belief that a closely examined life would yield infinite...

Christopher Lydon, Open Source Radio

Wednesday, July 12, 1:00, First Parish, 20 Lexington Rd, Concord, MA 01742.

Moderated by WBUR's Christopher Lydon with Deborah Cramer, Jennifer Haigh, John Kaag, and Megan Marshall.

Christopher Lydon covered politics for The New York Times from the Washington bureau in the 1970s. He hosted The Ten O’Clock News on WGBH TV through the 1980s, and he co-founded and...


Lessons On Environmentalism and Civil Disobedience

September 27, 2017 | 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm | Old South Church

Join us for this inaugural event for the 2017 Lecture series: Boston is Thoreau Country!

200 years after Thoreau's birth a distinguished panel will discuss the relevance of Thoreau's teachings in today's world.

How have his writings and ideas formed environmental policies, civil disobedience, and contemporary writings on our relationship with the natural world? Join the conversation!


Thoreau Society Bicentennial Highlights

Thoreau Society Annual Gathering 2017

Terry Tempest Williams, Keynote, AG 2017

Terry Tempest Williams, Keynote Address, 2017


Theodore Roosevelt and Skip on hunting trip

Evening Talk by Douglas Brinkley

First Parish Church, Wed, July 12, 7:30pm

At this year's Annual Gathering and Celebration of Thoreau's Bicentennial, Douglas Brinkley, professor of history at Rice University and the author of Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Land of...

Thoreau at Walden, N.C. Wyeth

Join us for the Thoreau Bicentennial Annual Gathering!  We have an exciting lineup of activities planned this year, including walks, conversations, music, dramatic performances and more.  All are welcome to help celebrate Henry David Thoreau's 200th Birthday! For more information, visit Thoreau

Suillus granulatus (Granulated Slippery Jack) in old pine woods north of Punkatasset Hill. Photograph by Cherrie Corey © 2015.

In this particularly unsavory presidential campaign season, Thoreau’s descriptive references to “election cake” fungi leapt off his journal pages and caught our attention. On July 29, 1853, Thoreau wrote that he had observed “shining & glossy yellow fungi--like an election cake atop.” Over the course of the next six years he made at least nine other references in his journal to election cake fungi.1

Election cake was a sweet yeast bread traditionally served on Election Day in 18th- and 19th-century New England. It was a descendent of the English “great cakes” and part of a...

Among the many occupations that Henry Thoreau plied throughout his life—school teacher, essayist, lecturer, pencil maker, and occasional helping hand in a myriad of day jobs in Concord—his career as a land surveyor, perhaps, is one of the most curious. As Patrick Chura has pointedly observed, in colonial North America, “the multiple purposes of establishing individual ownership, taxable value and legal jurisdiction were embodied in the person of the land surveyor.”1  While Thoreau “enjoyed surveying, for no other job gave him the same freedom to set his own hours and places of business,”...

Sunrise over a dusting of snow near Walden Pond, January 2016. Photograph by Chynna Lemire.

Henry David Thoreau’s early essay “A Winter Walk” is often grouped with “A Walk to Wachusett” and the posthumously published “Walking,” inviting readings that focus primarily on the act of walking. Yet for all of Thoreau’s kinetic imagery and sauntering persona, the peripatetic philosophy of “A Winter Walk” has as much to say about the act of listening. Just as one moves through the physical world, the physical world moves through us as sound. Thoreau appreciates this. His winter soundscape exists in an array of textures and apparent physical properties. These audible qualities are crucial...