Thoreau Society

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

Founded in 1941, the Thoreau Society is the oldest and largest organization dedicated to an American author. It is based in Concord, Massachusetts, USA at the house where Henry David Thoreau was born in 1817. With members from all 50 states and countries around the world, the Society disseminates knowledge about Thoreau by collecting books, manuscripts, and artifacts relating to Thoreau and his contemporaries, by encouraging the use of its extensive collections, and by publishing two periodicals, the Thoreau Society Bulletin and the Concord Saunterer .

Concord, Massachusetts Town in Massachusetts, United States

Concord is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, in the United States. At the 2010 census, the town population was 17,668. The United States Census Bureau considers Concord part of Greater Boston. The town center is near where the confluence of the Sudbury and Assabet rivers forms the Concord River.

Massachusetts State in the northeastern United States

Massachusetts, officially the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is the most populous state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It borders on the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the states of Connecticut and Rhode Island to the south, New Hampshire and Vermont to the north, and New York to the west. The state is named after the Massachusett tribe, which once inhabited the east side of the area, and is one of the original thirteen states. The capital of Massachusetts is Boston, which is also the most populous city in New England. Over 80% of the population of Massachusetts lives in the Greater Boston metropolitan area, a region influential upon American history, academia, and industry. Originally dependent on agriculture, fishing and trade, Massachusetts was transformed into a manufacturing center during the Industrial Revolution. During the 20th century, Massachusetts's economy shifted from manufacturing to services. Modern Massachusetts is a global leader in biotechnology, engineering, higher education, finance, and maritime trade.

Wheeler-Minot Farmhouse United States historic place

The Wheeler-Minot Farmhouse, also known as the Thoreau Farm or the Henry David Thoreau Birthplace, is a historic house at 341 Virginia Road in Concord, Massachusetts, United States. It is significant as the birthplace of writer Henry David Thoreau. The house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004. It currently serves as a museum and is open to the public.


The Thoreau Society archives are housed at the Walden Woods Project's Thoreau Institute Library 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 W. Robbins, who uncovered Thoreau's Walden house site.

The Walden Woods Project (WWP) is a nonprofit organization located in Lincoln, Massachusetts, devoted to the legacy of Henry David Thoreau and the preservation of Walden Woods, the forest around Walden Pond that spans Lincoln and Concord, Massachusetts. It was founded in 1990 by rock artist Don Henley to prevent two development projects in Walden Woods. Its mission has since expanded from conservation to research and education on the works of Henry David Thoreau. In 1998 the Thoreau Institute at Walden Woods was founded as part of the Project; today its library houses a collection of Thoreau-related resources.

Lincoln, Massachusetts Town in Massachusetts, United States

Lincoln is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 6,400 according to 2010 estimates, including residents of Hanscom Air Force Base that live within town limits. The town, located in Boston's MetroWest, has a rich colonial history and large amounts of public conservation land.

Walter Harding (1917–1996) was a distinguished professor of English at the State University of New York at Geneseo and internationally recognized scholar of the life and work of Henry David Thoreau. Harding was born in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, and received his B.S. from Bridgewater State College in 1939, M.A. from the University of North Carolina in 1947 and a Ph. D. from Rutgers University in 1950.



Thoreau Society members represent a broad range of professions, interests, and hometowns across the United States and around the world. They are connected by the conviction that Thoreau had important things to say and crucial questions to ask that are just as significant now as in Thoreau's lifetime.

World Earth and all life upon it, including human civilization

The world is the planet Earth and all life on it, including human civilization. In a philosophical context, the "world" is the whole of the physical Universe, or an ontological world. In a theological context, the world is the material or the profane sphere, as opposed to the celestial, spiritual, transcendent or sacred spheres. "End of the world" scenarios refer to the end of human history, often in religious contexts.

Through its programs, publications and projects, The Thoreau Society is committed to preserving Thoreau's legacy and encouraging people to think about how they live their lives.


Annual Gathering

Four days of indoor and outdoor sessions and excursions in and around Concord focused on a different theme each year. The Thursday–Sunday program is scheduled in early July.

Educational Programs

Lectures, classes, and performances in Thoreau's hometown of Concord, often in collaboration with other historical, literary, environmental and educational organizations.


Henley Library at the Thoreau Institute Henley Library, Thoreau Society, Lincoln MA.jpg
Henley Library at the Thoreau Institute

Trips to places associated with Thoreau, from half-day hikes to multi-day outings. Past locations have included Mt. Katahdin, Cape Cod, Harpers Ferry, Mt. Monadnock and Concord sites such as Egg Rock, Fairhaven Bay, Gowing's Swamp and Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.

Cape Cod Cape in the northeastern United States

Cape Cod is a geographic cape extending into the Atlantic Ocean from the southeastern corner of mainland Massachusetts, in the northeastern United States. Its historic, maritime character and ample beaches attract heavy tourism during the summer months.

Mount Monadnock Mountain in New Hampshire, USA

Mount Monadnock, or Grand Monadnock, is a 3,165 ft (965 m) mountain in the towns of Jaffrey and Dublin, New Hampshire. It is the most prominent mountain peak in southern New Hampshire and is the highest point in Cheshire County. It lies 38 miles (61 km) southwest of Concord and 62 miles (100 km) northwest of Boston. At 3,165 feet (965 m), Mount Monadnock is nearly 1,000 feet (305 m) higher than any other mountain peak within 30 miles (48 km) and rises 2,000 feet (610 m) above the surrounding landscape. It is known for being featured in the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau.

Egg Rock rocky outcrop in Concord, Massachsetts, USA

Egg Rock is an outcrop of Silurian Straw Hollow Diorite at the confluence of the Assabet and Sudbury rivers, where they form the Concord River in Concord, Massachusetts. The outcrop is located on a roughly oval intermittent island of about 100 by 50 meters. Egg Rock is usually accessible using foot trails over land, but during high river levels the island is separated from the mainland by a narrow channel. The highest point of Egg Rock is about 39 meters above mean sea level and about 6 meters above normal river level.


At academic conferences (the Modern Language Association and the American Literature Association have two annual sessions at their conferences each devoted to Thoreau) and at workshops for educators and the general public in Concord and beyond.

Projects and Events

Coordinated by members, Thoreau Society projects and events take place in communities across the country and around the world.


Thoreau Society Bulletin

A quarterly publication with Society news, additions to the Thoreau bibliography, and short articles on Thoreau and related topics. Edited by Brent Ranalli.

Concord Saunterer

An annual scholarly and popular journal featuring in-depth essays on Thoreau, his times and his contemporaries, and his influence today. Edited by John J. Kucich.


The Society publishes and sponsors the publication of original Thoreau-related books and reprints of selected hard-to-find titles about Thoreau.

The Collections

The Thoreau Society owns several important collections, including the papers of Walter Harding, Raymond Adams, and Roland Robbins, which are housed at the Thoreau Institute at Walden Woods. This research facility, founded through a collaboration between the Walden Woods Project and The Thoreau Society, is managed by the Walden Woods Project.

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Henry David Thoreau American poet, essayist, naturalist, and abolitionist (1817–1862)

Henry David Thoreau was an American essayist, poet, and philosopher. A leading transcendentalist, Thoreau is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay "Civil Disobedience", an argument for disobedience to an unjust state.

Walden Pond body of water in Massachusetts where Henry David Thoreau once lived

Walden Pond is a lake in Concord, Massachusetts, in the United States. A famous example of a kettle hole, it was formed by retreating glaciers 10,000–12,000 years ago. The pond is protected as part of Walden Pond State Reservation, a 335-acre (136 ha) state park and recreation site managed by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation. The reservation was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1962 for its association with the writer Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862), whose two years living in a cabin on its shore provided the foundation for his most famous work, Walden; or, Life in the Woods.

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Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site United States historic place

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Edwin Way Teale American conservationist

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Ralph Waldo Emerson House United States historic place

The Ralph Waldo Emerson House is a house museum located at 18 Cambridge Turnpike, Concord, Massachusetts, and a National Historic Landmark for its associations with American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson. He and his family named the home Bush. The museum is open mid-April to mid-October; an admission fee is charged.

Concord Museum non-profit organisation in the USA

The Concord Museum is a museum of local history located at 53 Cambridge Turnpike, Concord, Massachusetts, United States, and best known for its collection of artifacts from authors Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. It is open daily except major holidays; an admission fee is charged.

The Writings of Henry D. Thoreau University of California project to compile the complete works of HDT

The Writings of Henry D. Thoreau is a project that aims to provide, for the first time, accurate texts of the complete works of Henry David Thoreau, the American author, including his journal, his personal letters, and his writings for publication. Since the project was founded in 1966, Princeton University Press has published sixteen of its volumes.

Fairyland Pond lake of the United States of America

Fairyland Pond is a pond within Hapgood Wright Town Forest, a conservation area in Concord, Massachusetts. It is a popular recreation area, notable for its old-growth forest and its association with many literary figures from Concord’s past.

Jeffrey S. Cramer is the Curator of Collections at the Thoreau Institute at Walden Woods Library, managing the collections of the Walden Woods Project, the Thoreau Society, and the Ralph Waldo Emerson Society. He has edited many books about the works of such American literary figures as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Robert Frost.

Raymond Emerson was a civil engineer, an investment banker, and faculty at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. He is known for his large donations of personal Ralph Waldo Emerson letters and other documents for educational purposes. He was part of the Emerson family, Ralph Waldo Emerson's grandson. In addition to his marriage to Amelia Forbes, he was also connected to the Forbes family through other marriages in his parents' and his own generations.

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John Pipkin

John George Pipkin is an American author, born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1967. He holds a PhD in British Romantic Literature from Rice University in Houston, TX, an MA in English from UNC-Chapel Hill, and a BA from Washington & Lee University in Lexington, VA. His first novel, Woodsburner, won the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, the Massachusetts Center for the Book Fiction Prize, and the Texas Institute of Letters Steven Turner Award.

<i>Walden, a game</i> First person open world video game

Walden, a game is a first-person open world video game developed by Tracy Fullerton and the USC Game Innovation Lab for Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X and PlayStation 4. Released on on July 4, 2017 for PC/Mac and PlayStation 4 on May 15, 2018, the game translates the experience of naturalist and author Henry David Thoreau's stay at Walden Pond in 1845-47 to a video game. The game was announced for PlayStation 4 at the 2017 PlayStation Experience.

Paul Brooks (1909–1998) was a nature writer, book editor, and environmentalist.

Roland Wells Robbins (1908–1987) was an American archaeologist, author, and historian who is known for discovering the site of Henry David Thoreau's house at Walden Pond. His other discoveries include the Saugus Iron Works and the John and Priscilla Alden Family Sites.