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Willowell Foundation, Monkton, Vermont, home of the Walden Project. Photograph courtesy of Chris Mazzarella

At a time when educational reform programs have teachers concerned about their autonomy in the classroom, Henry David Thoreau’s early teaching career may offer some inspiration. It began in 1835, when Thoreau took time off from college to teach in Canton, Massachusetts. After graduating from Harvard in 1837, he briefly accepted a position at the Concord Center School, but resigned a few weeks later when he disagreed with the school policy mandating corporal punishment.

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Independent Gold-Hunter on his Way to California

On December 27, 1854, Henry Thoreau traveled to Nantucket Island to give a lecture titled “What Shall it Profit?” According to the advertisement in the December 8, 1854, edition of The Inquirer, one of the two island newspapers at the time, he was to speak as part of a “course of Lectures before the Proprietors of the Nantucket Atheneum.” The advertisement went on to say, “The Committee have limited the number of tickets, that the Hall may not be crowded.”  A good turnout was...

Detail, John James Audubon, “Spruce Grouse (Canachites canadensis),” original watercolor for plate no. 176, from Birds of America

Fourteen years before Henry David Thoreau climbed Mount Katahdin, and twenty-five years before his travels on the Allegash and Penobscot Rivers, John James Audubon and his family, who were traveling in search of northern birds and subscribers to The Birds of America (1827-1838), spent several weeks in rural Maine. As we commemorate the 150th anniversary of the publication of The Maine Woods, we may want to consider the art and writings that Audubon produced...

Scot Miller's photography has been featured in many books and publications. He is the author of Walden: 150th Anniversary Illustrated Edition of the American Classic, Cape Cod: Illustrated Edition of the American Classic, and, most recently, Thoreau’s Maine Woods: A Photographic Journey Through an American Wilderness. Scot’s lifelong commitment to conservation is reflected in his photographic illustrations of Thoreau’s writings, his work for The Yosemite Fund, and his support for the Walden Woods Project, to which he offers his...

Scot Miller, Thoreau, The Maine Woods: A Photographic Journey Through an American Wilderness, Levenger Press, 2013.

Henry David Thoreau’s “Chesuncook,” the second essay of The Maine Woods, is well known for the controversy resulting from Atlantic Monthly editor James Russell Lowell’s decision to remove a now famous sentence referring to a pine tree.1 One hundred and fifty years later, Thoreau’s essay continues to resonate for another reason: its extended meditation on hunting, a pastime that attracts Americans to the woods throughout the...

Scot Miller, Thoreau, The Maine Woods: A Photographic Journey Through an American Wilderness

The question is not what you look at—but how you look & whether you see.

—Thoreau, Journal, 5 August 1851

Scot Miller, Thoreau, The Maine Woods: A...

Thoreau rocks

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.  —Henry David Thoreau, Walden

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The Gateway Arch is a 630-foot-high (192 m) monument in St. Louis

 In “Walking,” Thoreau not only defines sauntering as one of his cherished pursuits; he also self-consciously chooses a “perfectly symbolical” shape or contour for his sauntering journeys: "The outline which would bound my walks would be, not a circle, but a parabola . . .like one of those cometary orbits, which have been thought to be non-...

John Hessler

     I first started seriously reading the works of Henry David Thoreau almost twenty years ago when I was researching the biogeography of a particularly rare group of alpine butterflies. Back then I used to spend my time during the early summer...

Thoreau Society Civil Disobedience Medal

Essentially Revolutionary
Henry Thoreau's Radical Moment—and Ours

By Wen Stephenson

On a clear and seasonably cold Sunday morning in March, I made my way through the streets of an old neighborhood in Worcester, Massachusetts, and entered a large, converted brick building from some other century. Inside, in a cavernous room with worn floors and south-facing windows lit by the sun, a group of seventy or more young climate activists—mostly college students and recent graduates from the Boston area, along with a few veterans of the Occupy and global justice movements—...

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