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2021 Marjorie Harding Memorial Fellowship

The Thoreau Society is pleased to announce the sixth annual Marjorie Harding Memorial Fellowship, generously funded by the Harding family. The fellowship honors the life and legacy of Marjorie Brook Harding, who worked diligently to bring together the Thoreau Society, the Walden Woods Project, and SUNY Geneseo to advance Thoreau studies and conservation of Thoreau Country and to keep alive the legacy of Walter Harding, Marjorie’s husband, an early leader in Thoreau studies. The fruits of this labor can be seen in the Digital Thoreau Project ( and in the annual Walter Harding Lecture Series at SUNY Geneseo.

The 2021 Marjorie Harding Memorial Fellow will receive an award of $1,000 to support research and scholarship. We welcome applications related to projects that advance Thoreau studies or draw on Thoreau’s biography and writings to contribute to related fields (Thoreau’s circle, Transcendentalism, civil disobedience and social justice, environmentalism and conservation, among other topics). We welcome proposals from scholars, teachers, creative artists, and Thoreau enthusiasts. (Graduate students are encouraged to apply for the Thoreau Country Conservation Alliance fellowship.) The Thoreau Society Fellowships Committee will give preference to proposals that make use of the Walter Harding Collection. We also welcome proposals that target other collections at the Thoreau Institute Library in Lincoln, Massachusetts, or materials held in Boston-area archives that are not otherwise accessible.

Because of the pandemic and the uncertainty as to when archives will open, the Thoreau Society welcomes proposals for archival work that will be undertaken when archives re-open, ideally within the next two years.

Applicants should email the following to Thoreau Society Fellowships Committee Chair James Finley (

  1. Proposal of no more than one thousand words. Please describe the project and its significance, situating the work within relevant scholarship, detail the work you wish to undertake with the fellowship’s support, and outline your plan for sharing the results of your work. Please specify the resources you wish to consult at the Thoreau Institute Library or in the other archives of the greater Boston area.
  2. Projected budget. Please describe how you plan to utilize the award in support of your project.
  3. Current curriculum vitae or resume.

Applications are due by Thursday, April 1, 2021. The Fellowships Committee will contact the awardee by the end of April. The award will be publicly acknowledged in July during the Thoreau Society Annual Gathering (either virtually or in person). Awardees are requested to present the fruits of their archival labors at a subsequent Annual Gathering.

Please contact the Fellowships Committee Chair with questions.

I went to the woods because I wish to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”


Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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