At least five Thoreau-oriented periodicals have been published since the society was founded in 1941. The only ones to continue are from the Thoreau Society, the Concord Saunterer: A Journal of Thoreau Studies and the Thoreau Society Bulletin. The ongoing support of Thoreau Society members has ensured the continuation of these overtime, while others have disappeared. Here's a brief description and history of each periodical.
The Thoreau Society Bulletin (ISSN: 0040-6406) has been issued by the Thoreau Society since the organization began in 1941. The publication has generally been released on a quarterly basis, and issues are numbered consecutively, without a volume designation. While the Bulletin contains information about Society events and initiatives, it also includes articles about the life and work of Henry David Thoreau, as well as his friends, relatives, and fellow Transcendentalists. "Additions to the Thoreau Bibliography" is a regular column. Walter Harding served as the Bulletin editor for its first fifty years (#1-195). Mark Gallagher is the current editor (#287-present). The Bulletin is sent to Society members as part of their membership.
The Concord Saunterer is the name of a periodical begun by one organization that merged with another. The journal was put into hiatus, and then picked up again. Thus is it said to have two "series." [It is also the name of a book published by Middlebury College Press in 1940, which featured "The Nature of Mysticism of Thoreau" by Reginald Lansing Cook, and two compilations (by Viola C. White) of Thoreau items found in the Abernethy Library of Middlebury College. But we digress.]
The Concord Saunterer was first released by The Thoreau Foundation, a group founded "in 1966, by Concordians who believed that there should be a Thoreau Center in the town where the author-naturalist-philosopher was born and died." They operated from a building on Belknap Street called The Thoreau Lyceum, which sat near the site of Henry David Thoreau's "Texas House," no longer standing. For many years the Lyceum drew Thoreauvians to it, due in large part to its management first by curator Mary Sherwood, followed soon afterward by Anne Root McGrath. The folks at the Lyceum promoted the Thoreau Society's annual meetings, and Society members frequented the rooms of the Lyceum; and so by the early 1980s it was obvious that both organizations were working toward the same goal: promoting Thoreau's life, works, and legacy. After several years of meetings and discussions, the Thoreau Foundation (and its Lyceum) and the Thoreau Society officially merged in 1983. Members of the co-joined organization (which retained the Thoreau Society name) began receiving both the Thoreau Society Bulletin and the Concord Saunterer. The March 1984 issue (vol. 17 #1) was the first to include both names as the issuing entities (The Thoreau Society – The Thoreau Lyceum).
The first series of the Saunterer was issued multiple times each year and ran from Volume 1, Number 1 (November 1966) to Volume 20, Numbers 1&2 (December 1988). Three "supplements" were also printed, each consisting of a single academic article. The first carries no date but is presumed to have been released in 1971; the second was printed in June 1972, and the third came out in December 1973. An index to the contents of volumes 1-17 was printed in volume 18. The original editor of the first series of the Concord Saunterer was not named but is presumed to have been Anne Root McGrath. Beginning with the Fall 1979 (vol. 14 #3) issue, the editorial board is listed as consisting of Anne Root McGrath, Thomas W. Blanding, and Malcolm M. Ferguson. By the Spring 1981 issue (vol. 16, #1), Thomas W. Blanding is credited as the editor.
At the end of the 1980s, Thoreauvians (especially those in the Concord area) were quite busy: first with combating a plan for development of Walden Woods, and then in staging the Thoreau Society's 50th Anniversary Jubilee in 1991. Publication of the Concord Saunterer fell by the wayside. It resumed in 1993, as a "New Series," and evolved into one annual release. The initial titling was Volume 1, Number 1, for the Fall 1993 issue, and Volume 2, Number 1, for the Fall 1994 issue; but afterwards, each annual issue was a self-contained volume. Volumes 12/13 were released together as one larger publication in 2004, to honor the 150th anniversary of the printing of Walden. Concord Saunterer "New Series" editors have been Ronald Wesley Hoag (1993-1999); Richard J. Schneider (2000-2006); Laura Dassow Walls (2007-2011); and Kristen Case (2012-2015). Today, the Saunterer is edited by John Kucich of Bridgewater State University. (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Thoreau Journal Quarterly (ISSN: 0040-6392) was the membership publication for the Thoreau Fellowship, an organization based in Old Town, Maine, and founded by Mary P. Sherwood, Wade Van Dore, and Leonard Kleinfeld. The group was affiliated with the Department of English at the University of Maine at Orono. TJQ was released from 1969 to 1981, and ran from Volume I Number 1 to Volume XIII Number 3-4. Editors were Mary P. Sherwood (1969-1972), Lewis Leary (1973-1974), Richard F. Fleck (1975-1977), and Marie Olesen Urbanski (1978-1981), though Mary Sherwood served as managing editor for the first nine years. TJQ began as "a hybrid publication of professional, semi-professional and popular items" about Henry David Thoreau's life and works, with a special focus on his trips and connections to Maine. Issues often included contemporary poetry inspired by Henry's words.
At the close of 1981, the responsibility for the publication was moved to the Department of Philosophy at the University of Minnesota, and the periodical name was changed to The Thoreau Quarterly: A Journal of Literary and Philosophical Studies.
The Thoreau Quarterly: A Journal of Literary and Philosophical Studies (ISSN: 0730-868X) was based at the Department of Philosophy at the University of Minnesota. Co-editors were John M. Dolan and Wendell Glick. Volume numbers continued from the earlier publication, Thoreau Journal Quarterly. TQ was released from 1982 to 1985, and ran from Volume 14 Number 1 to Volume 17 Numbers 1& 2. Only seven issues of The Thoreau Quarterly came out. An index for each volume usually appeared in the last issue of the year.
Thoreau Research Newsletter (ISSN: 1055-7326) was printed by Transpacific Communications in Connor, Montana. Bradley P. Dean was the editor. TRN was published quarterly in 1990 and 1991, totalling eight issues (two volumes, four numbers in each). It was described as a "newsletter circulating among colleagues, not a full-scale scholarly publication." Each issue included notes from some of the subscribers, describing the research they were currently doing. Brad Dean became the editor of the Thoreau Society Bulletin in 1991.
In recent years, the Thoreau society has circulated an e-newsletter that we are currently updating as we make all of our publications more available in digital form. If you would like to receive our newsletter via email, please click here. You can also view an archive of the e-newsletter here.
Information about these periodicals and the organizations behind them, as well as the tables of contents lists, was compiled and summarized by Corinne H. Smith.