Thoreau Society Collections

The Thoreau Society has made selections from its collections, including back issues of its publications and especially significant books in the public domain, freely available at the Internet Archive.  

Digital Thoreau

Thoreau went to the woods, he said, to live deliberately. He advised us to read in the same spirit. Digital Thoreau provides tools to illuminate Thoreau’s creative process and facilitate thoughtful conversation about his words and ideas. Read our fluid text edition of Walden to understand Thoreau’s process of composition across the seven existing manuscript versions of the work. See the changes he made to any one version and compare changes across versions.

Our fluid text edition builds on Ronald E. Clapper’s groundbreaking “genetic” Walden using the standards of the Text Encoding Initiative and the open-source Versioning Machine. Our TEI is freely accessible for use by other scholars.

Mapping Thoreau's Travels in Massachusetts

Undertaken by the Thoreau Society in partnership with UMass Lowell and other educational organizations and institutions, Mapping Thoreau Country: Tracking Henry David Thoreau's Travels in Massachusetts uses historical maps to organize images, documents, and information related to Thoreau's travels throughout his home state.

The Writings of Henry D. Thoreau (Princeton Edition)

Also known as the Princeton Edition or the Thoreau Edition, The Writings of Henry D. Thoreau will eventually comprise a complete annotated edition of all of Thoreau's writings. Begun in 1966 by Princeton University Press, sixteen volumes have been published so far with fourteen more planned. The Society's collection contains printer's copy, galleys, and other materials related to the Princeton publications. (Visit the Archives)

Thoreau Society Collections at the Thoreau Institute

If you would like to explore our collections in person, please contact the Thoreau Institute at the Walden Woods Project in Lincoln, Massachusetts to arrange a visit to the Henley Library. See our Policy on Reprints, Reproductions, and Fees.  

Walden Woods ProjectRaymond Adams Collection

Raymond Adams (1898-1987) was a founder of the Thoreau Society and served as its first president from 1941 to 1955. His collection contains first editions, several Thoreau manuscripts, correspondence from Thoreau's contemporaries, and the Thoreau collection of Henry S. Salt, author of the 1890 biography of Henry David Thoreau.

Walter Harding Collection

Walter Harding (1917-1996) founded the Thoreau Society with Raymond Adams and served as editor of its monthly Bulletin newsletter for many years. He is renowned for his career-long research on Thoreau and the multitude of books and articles he published on the subject. His collection is regarded as the world's most extensive research collection on Thoreau. It  contains first editions, manuscripts, articles, pamphlets, and correspondence with leading Thoreau scholars.

Roland Wells Robbins Collection

Roland Robbins (1908-1987) discovered the remains of Thoreau's cabin at Walden Pond in 1945. His collection consists of his archaeological field notes, photographs and other related documentation.

Archives of the Thoreau Society

Established in 1941, the Thoreau Society is the oldest and largest organization devoted to an American author. Its collection represents the corporate history of the Society along with research materials donated to the Society over the years such as letters written by Thoreau as well as papers from other families who were contemporaries of Thoreau in Concord.

The Wheelwright Collection

The Wheelwright family donated five manuscripts to the Thoreau Society that includes an unpublished traced map of Cape Cod by Thoreau.