Blog & News

Thoreau and the Language of Trees

Arbor Day Lecture by Richard Higgins, author of Thoreau and the Language of Trees, 12:00 noon, April 28, 2017, Smith College Campus Center. In this original book, Richard Higgins explores Thoreau’s deep connections to trees: his keen perception of them, the joy they gave him, the poetry he saw in them, his philosophical view of them, and how they fed his soul. His lively essays show that trees were a thread connecting all parts of Thoreau’s being—heart, mind, and spirit. Included are one hundred...

Resistance & Freedom: The Political Legacy of Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau described himself as “a mystic, a transcendentalist, and a natural philosopher to boot,” but he is probably most famous for his refusal to pay his taxes in protest against slavery and the Mexican War. Just as later political figures such as Emma Goldman and Martin Luther King cited Thoreau’s refusal as inspiration for their decisions to defy unjust laws, the ongoing protests against the Trump Administration have echoed his call for resistance to political evil.  In order to gain a better understanding of this political legacy, Susan E. Gallagher explores how Thoreau’s...

Henry David Thoreau Loved the Seasons

 On Thursday, April 20, 3-5pm, Donna Marie Przybojewski will launch her latest children’s book, “Henry David Thoreau Loved the Seasons,” at Thoreau Farm. Przybojewski, a junior high school teacher and Thoreau Society Ambassador for the Thoreau Bicentennial, will read from her book and give a short talk on how parents and teachers can introduce Thoreau to children at a young age. This event is FREE and open to the public. Children accompanied by an adult are welcome to attend this event. Space is limited, please email...

Bicentennial Happenings in Concord and beyond

Art Exhibition—WALDEN: Window & Mirror, April 6 - May 14, 2017.

Artist Talks: Wednesday, April 12, 2017, 6:00 pm

Concord Center for Visual Arts, 37 Lexington Road, Concord MA 01742

In the spirit of celebrating Henry David Thoreau and the bicentennial of his birth, Concord Art presents WALDEN: Window & Mirror featuring the work of eight artists who, like Thoreau, strive to understand our relationship...

Thoreau Society Shop at Walden Pond

The Thoreau Society is proud to announce that the Thoreau Society Shop at Walden Pond has moved into its new home at the Walden Pond Visitor Center. 

In 2015 the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) began the construction of a new visitor center at Walden Pond State Reservation. The construction phase of the building was completed last fall with a ribbon-cutting ceremony which took place on September 27, 2016. 

The new visitor center is a state-of-the-art facility, designed with green technology in mind. Impressive for its small carbon footprint, the...

A sketch of Thoreau by Daniel Ricketson, “H. D. Thoreau returning to his Shanty from Concord,” circa 1855 (Courtesy of the New Bedford Whaling Museum)

“Every movement reveals us....We judge a horse not only by seeing him handled on a racecourse, but also by seeing him walk, and even by seeing him rest in a stable.” 

Michel de Montaigne

–Michel de Montaigne1 

Thoreau was a prodigious walker. By his own account, his constitution required walking four hours a day at least.2 And he did not walk as others did. His contemporaries agreed...

Thoreau at Walden, N.C. Wyeth

Join us for the Thoreau Bicentennial Annual Gathering!  We have an exciting lineup of activities planned this year, including walks, conversations, music, dramatic performances and more.  All are welcome to help celebrate Henry David Thoreau's 200th Birthday! For more information, visit Thoreau Bicentennial.org

Thoreau rock collection

“Thoreau and Material Culture”

Call for Papers for a guaranteed session sponsored by the Thoreau Society

Modern Language Association Annual Conference, New York City, January 4-7, 2018 

How do material objects enrich our understanding of Thoreau’s literary, natural-history, and politically-minded endeavors? How might tangible things deepen our sense of the author’s work, life, and world? What insights can we gain by recovering objects associated with his work, home, and place? The Thoreau Society...

Suillus granulatus (Granulated Slippery Jack) in old pine woods north of Punkatasset Hill. Photograph by Cherrie Corey © 2015.

In this particularly unsavory presidential campaign season, Thoreau’s descriptive references to “election cake” fungi leapt off his journal pages and caught our attention. On July 29, 1853, Thoreau wrote that he had observed “shining & glossy yellow fungi--like an election cake atop.” Over the course of the next six years he made at least nine other references in his journal to election cake fungi.1

Election cake was a sweet yeast bread traditionally served on Election Day in 18th- and 19th-century New England. It was a descendent of the English “great cakes” and part of a...

Among the many occupations that Henry Thoreau plied throughout his life—school teacher, essayist, lecturer, pencil maker, and occasional helping hand in a myriad of day jobs in Concord—his career as a land surveyor, perhaps, is one of the most curious. As Patrick Chura has pointedly observed, in colonial North America, “the multiple purposes of establishing individual ownership, taxable value and legal jurisdiction were embodied in the person of the land surveyor.”1  While Thoreau “enjoyed surveying, for no other job gave him the same freedom to set his own hours and places of business,”...

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