Annual Gathering

Annual Gathering Schedule, July 10-14, 2019

 Engineering Thoreau:  Nature, Technology, and the Connected Life 

Dana S. Brigham Memorial Keynote Address:

Henry Petroski

author of The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance



Early registration is now open through May 15, 2019. 
Register today and save.

2019 Registration Form for Annual Gathering (PDF)

Concord Lodging

Annual Gathering Schedule, July 10-14, 2019






W E D N E S D A Y, JULY 10, 2018


5-7 pm 



7-9 pm

Transcendental Theater


  1. Henry Thoreau's Heroic Journey, Michael Sperber

  2. Thoreau/Twain: Brothers on the River, Tammy Rose

T H U R S D A Y,  JULY 11, 2018

6:30 am

Punkatasset Hill Walk with Peter Alden     

Meet at Keyes Rd to carpool

8 am   Registration  Masonic
8:45-10:15 am Presentations     Masonic

Main Level

  1. Figure in the Mist: The Death of John Thoreau Jr. and the Changing Worlds of A Week, Audrey Raden
  2. How the Crystal Hills Became Woedolor Mountain, Wende Lark Greenberg, PhD
  3. “What’s the Railroad to Me?”: Teaching the Complexity of Thoreau’s Response to Technology, Christina Root

Lower Level

  1. Cultivating a different kind of garden: Thoreau, Lawn-care, and the Modern Mowing Mania, Michael Stoneham
  2. As a Forest of Wildlife: Observations on The Working Landscapes of Thoreau’s New England and the Adirondacks, NY, Marianne Patinelli-Dubay
  3. Thoughts from Building a Replica House; or, I and Thoreau's Chimney, Ed Gillin
  4. Power politics, inspired persistence, and good luck in Thoreau’s Maine Woods, Jym St. Pierre



Main Level

  1. Maine Woods Panel Rediscovering the Maine Woods: Thoreau’s Legacy in an Unsettled Land, John J. Kucich discussion with Robert Thorson, Laura Dassow Walls, Dale Potts and Chris Sockalexis

Lower Level

  1. Dark Thoreau Revisited, Geoff Wisner
  2. “Tell me who you go with”… The Ellery Connection, Ted David
  3. The Other 'Hermit" of Thoreau's Walden Pond: The Sojourn of Edmond Stuart Hotham, Terry Barkley
  4. A Plummet Line, a Pencil, an Arrowhead, Catherine Staples


12-1 pm

Lunch: Catered by Saltbox Kitchen, farm to table                     

12-1 pm

Special Event: Lasting Legacy Program with Ron Hoag, Michael Schleifer, and Ted David

This session is open to those who would like to learn more about naming the Thoreau Society as a beneficiary in their estate planning.  A complimentary lunch catered by the Colonial Inn will be provided by the Thoreau Society.


Thoreau Room at the Colonial Inn
1-2 pm



Main Level

  1. Sounds like Steam Spirit: the Railroad as Inspiration and Crisis in Thoreau’s Walden, Henrik Otterberg

Lower Level

  1. Life on Fire: The Technology of Walden, Diana Lorence
1-2 pm

Special Event

  1. Tea With Thoreau, Sinton Stranger

Thoreau Room at the Colonial Inn
2:15-3:45 pm



Main Level

  1. Engineering Through Junior High Language Arts with Henry David Thoreau,
    Donna Marie Pryzbojewski

  2. Connecting 21st Century Learners with Nature Through Technology and Thoreau,
    Karen Buckland

  3. After STEM:  Henry David Thoreau’s Contributions toward Consilience, John Barthell

  4. Thoreau’s Questions, Geoff Wisner

Lower Level

  1. Thoreau and Humor, Michael Schleifer, Chair

  2. Thoreau in Billerica, MA, Marlies Henderson

  3. Thoreau: A Teacher of Teachers, Hunter Cambon
2:15-3:45 pm

Special Event:  Walk with Robert Thorson

  1.  The Making of Walden Pond, Robert Thorson
Meet at Keyes Rd Carpool to Walden
4-5:30 pm



Main Level- Thoreau Farm Presentation

  1. Saving Thoreau’s Birthplace: How Citizens Rallied to Bring Henry Out of the Woods, Lucille Stott

Lower Level

  1. Henry David Thoreau in Defense of Uncivil Disobedience, James Mathew

  2. Ignoring ‘Fort Sumter, & Old Abe, & all that’: Lincoln, Thoreau and the Myths of Abolitionism, Susan Gallagher

  3. Concord Community and Emerson's Antislavery Movement, Izumi Ogura

5:30-7:30 pm

Dinner on your own

 7:30-9 pm Emerson Society Panel

Transcendentalism:  Men and Women Conversing, Part I, co-sponsored by the Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, and Louisa May Alcott Societies

  1. The Vexed Nature of Home: Concord in 1845, Sarah Ann Wider

  2. Margaret Fuller and John Neal Conversing, Fritz Fleischmann

  3. Helen Thoreau’s Brother Henry and Lucretia Mott, Audrey Raden

  4. Darkened Domesticity: The Sturgis Sisters in Dialogue with Emersonian Poetics, Kathy Lawrence

 9-10 pm

Emerson Society Social

Honoring Leslie Wilson


F R I D A Y,  JULY 12, 2018

6:30 am

A Walk to Thoreau’s Boiling Spring & Deep Cut

 Henrik Otterberg, Corinne Smith and Bob Young

Meet at Keyes Rd to carpool
8 am Registration Masonic
8:45-10:15 am

Main Level

  1. Henry's Best Science, Robert Thorson

  2. I Should Like to Invent Useful Machinery, J. William T. "Bill" Youngs

  3. Thoreau the Surveyor from the perspective of a modern day surveyor, David Lee Ingram

  4. Living with Future Shock from Thoreau to the Present, Pamela Mack

Lower Level

  1. Henry D. Thoreau and Basic Income, Brent Ranalli

  2. Thoreau in his extremes: technology as a way of reproducing the “quiet desperation”, Ferenc Szabó

  3. Thoreau and the U.S. Elections: The Mechanics of How to Vote With Your Life, Joanna Greenfield

  4. Wallace Kaufman’s Coming Out of the Woods: An Anti-pastoral Response to Thoreau and Technology, Richard J. Schneider
10:30-12 pm



Main Level

Transcendentalism:  Men and Women Conversing, Part II, co-sponsored by the Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, and Louisa May Alcott Societies

  1. Rewriting the Life of an ‘Ultra-Radical’: Ralph Waldo Emerson on Margaret Fuller in Memoirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli, Alice de Galzain

  2. Woman Conversing: Feminine Philosophers at the Concord School of Philosophy,
    Tiffany K. Wayne

  3. Let It Be Known: Fuller’s Voice in Emerson’s Work on Women’s Rights, Jennifer Daly

  4. Standing Her Ground: Caroline Healey Dall and the Male Transcendentalists, Helen R. Deese

Lower Level

  1. Chopped & Reconstructed: How the Early Publishing History of Thoreau’s *Journal* Reveals an Engineered Canonization, William Coughlin

  2. The Engineering of Henry David Thoreau’s Reputation in Louisa May Alcott’s ‘Moods’,
    Tracey A. Cummings

  3. Thoreau’s Cabin and the Art of Carpentry: In his Days and Today, Nikita Pokrovsky

  4. Thoreau Fever and Walden Phenomenon in China, Julia Du

12-1 pm Lunch: Catered by Saltbox Kitchen, farm to table   Masonic
1-2 pm

Main Level

  1. The Thoreau Pencil: A New Look at Sources & Composition, Henrik Otterberg

  2. Printing Thoreau on Period Presses, Randy Newcomer

Lower Level

  1. Re-Engineering Thoreau: Seeing Ecclesiastes in Walden, Natasha Shabat
1-2 pm

Special Event:  Fellowship Reception

Reception with Marjorie Harding Memorial Fellowship Awardee
David K. Leff for the Marjorie Harding Memorial Fellowship
 Jake A. McGinnis for the Graduate Student Fellowship

Thoreau Institute
2:15-3:45 pm



Main Level

The Innermost House Foundation Panel

The Transparent Eyeball: The Art of Photography as the Technology of Transcendentalism

  1. Transcendental Douglass, John Stauffer

  2. Transcendentalism Gone West: Ansel Adams and the End of History, Michael Lorence

  3. The Transcendental Moment, Melinda Levin

Lower Level

  1. “May we not see God?”: Henry David Thoreau’s Doctrine of Spiritual Senses, Lydia Willsky-Ciollo

  2. The Engineering of the Senses: Thoreau, Politics, and Literary Form, Alex Moskowitz

  3. Sympathy with Intelligence: Thoreau's Scientific Practice, William Homestead

  4. The Divided Thoreau:  Romantic poet, or Seminal Scientist/Forest Ecologist?, David Gordon

2:15-3:45 pm

Special Event: Concord Free Public Library Presentation


  1. Farewell open house with Leslie Wilson, Curator of the William Munroe Special Collections of the Concord Free Public Library

4-5:30 pm Presentations              Masonic

Main Level

Sponsored by SUNY Geneseo, The Thoreau Society, and the Walden Woods Project

  1. Reverse Engineering Thoreau, Paul Schacht

Lower Level

  1. Thoreau as Mythic Engineer, Keith Badger

  2. Formal Elements: Thoreau's Textual Technologies, Karah Mitchell

  3. “Yankee in Canada,” Cape Cod, and Thoreau’s Re-engineered America, Jake McGinnis

Thoreau in Minnesota: An assessment of the naturalist as field ornithologist, Gordon Andersson

4-5:30 pm

Special Event

Perspectives of Henry's Pond in Winter: Surveying Procedures, Drafting Techniques, Tools and Tricks of Thoreau's Trade, Kim Buchheit, at William Munroe Special Collections of the Concord Free Public Library (workshop on Thoreau’s Surveying of Walden Pond)

5:30-7:30 pm Dinner on your own  
7:30-8:30 pm

Special Event: Musical Concert

with violinist Helen Sherrah Davies
Thoreau Society 78th Anniversary

Helen Sherrah-Davies: After many years as a classical performer and educator in her native Britain, five-string violinist and composer Helen Sherrah-Davies relocated to Boston,graduated from Berklee College of Music and is currently pursuing her Masters in Contemporary Improvisation at the New England Conservatory. StarStuff, her debut recording as a leader, is the fruit of her remarkable transatlantic quest, the fulfillment of a vibrant and seasoned artistic vision. Darol Anger, acclaimed fiddler, has described Helen’s music as “so strong, it approaches the status of anew sentient being.... Even in the most thorny, complex episodes, we are moved to care, laugh and rejoice, washed by waves of melodic love.” Helen’s other stateside performing credits include Christiane Karam’s Middle Eastern fusion band ZiLZALA, the Underground Jazz String Quartet, the drumming group Inanna and many other collaborations at venues and festivals around the Northeast region.
First Parish

S A T U R D A Y,  JULY 13, 2018

6:30 am

Great Meadows Walk with Peter Alden

Meet at Keyes Rd to carpool
7- 8:30 am Memorial Walk at Walden Pond with Corinne Smith        Meet at Cabin Replica
9-10:30 am Business Meeting.  This is the annual membership meeting of the Thoreau Society. First Parish

Dana S. Brigham Memorial Keynote Address

Henry Petroski,  Author of The Pencil:
A History of Design and Circumstance

"Engineering Before and During the Time of Thoreau"

First Parish
12-1 pm


Catered by the Colonial Inn (Meal Ticket required)

First Parish
1:15-2:15 pm Henry David Thoreau Prize for Literary Excellence in Nature Writing Masonic


Deborah Cramer will honor Mary Oliver,
2019 Thoreau Prize Winner

1:30 pm Registration  Masonic
2:30-3:45 pm Mary Oliver Panel - Tentative        Masonic
4-5:30 pm Presentations Masonic


Main Level

Panel Sponsored by ASLE: The Association for the Study of Literature and Environment

Engineering for the Planet, Rochelle Johnson, Chair

  1. Engineering the Self in Walden and Walden Two, Michelle Neely
  2. Thoreau Alone Again, Mark Noble
  3. Thoreau's Eco-Erotics, Cristin Ellis
  4. Thoreau’s Philosophy of Description, Dominic Mastroianni
  5. Respondent: Rochelle Johnson

Lower Level

  1. Geraniums & Gentians: The Herbariums of Emily Dickinson & Henry David Thoreau,
    Ann Beebe
  2. How Art Technology Inspires Life: Thoreau Reacts to Painted Panoramas, Corinne Smith
  3. “Some Incidents Greatly Exaggerated”: Mabel Loomis Todd’s Pebble Painted by Sophia of the Cabin at Walden (or Not), Mary Jo Downey
  4. Thoreau’s smallest scale drawing: maps in the late Journal, Dennis Noson


6:00-7:30 pm

Banquet Dinner and Reception

for the Keynote Speaker, Henry Petroski

Piano by Andrew Celentano

Colonial Inn
7:30 pm Book-signing Masonic
9 pm Music Circle Masonic

S U N D A Y,  JULY 14, 2018


Special Event

Canoeing with Connection: Insights from Paddlers Past and Present

with Deborah Medenbach


Meet at Keyes Road to carpool
8 am Registration Masonic

Sunday Morning Workshops and Discussion Groups

Please join us for interactive discussions at the Masonic Temple

9-10 am Presentations Masonic

Main Level

  1. Transcend and Include, Thoreau as Surveyor and Integralist, Renée Silvus

10-12 pm

Special Event
Field Trip:  Inspirational Morning Saunter at Thoreau Farm

with Corinne Smith

Thoreau Farm
10 am

Sunday Sermon First Parish

Transcendentalist Friendships, Rev. Dr. Jim Sherblom

10:15-11:15 am Presentations Masonic

Main Level

  1. Thoreau’s Walking Stick, Fly Wheel of Imagination, Leslie Bartlett

Lower Level

  1. Searching for Thoreau: Exploring Technology to Disseminate a Nature-Based Ethos, Beverly Salas
11:30-12:15 pm



Main Level

  1. A Gathering of Poets on Henry David Thoreau, David K. Leff

Lower Level

  1. “‘Without Further Ado . . . 'and ‘On Your Way Out . . .’: Introductions, Prefaces, and Afterwords to Thoreau’s Writings, Joseph Hutcheson
12:30-2 pm Thoreau Farm Picnic Thoreau Farm
2:30-5 pm

Thoreau Society and Orchard House Panel

Laura Dassow Walls, Phyllis Cole, Helen Deese

Location TBD
 7-9 pm

Film Screening and Panel Discussion 

Surveyor of the Soul, Huey

with Laura Dassow Walls