“Neither Lost Nor Found: the Archaeological Collections of Henry David Thoreau”

Date: 
December 3, 2017 - 2:30pm - 4:00pm
Location: 
Holliston Historical Society, 547 Washington Street, Holliston, MA 01746

Sunday, December 3 at 2:30 p.m.
Holliston Historical Society
547 Washington Street

In honor of Thoreau’s 200th birthday this year, Holliston Historical Society is presenting this illustrated talk by Gloria Greis, Executive Director of Needham Historical Society.
 
Henry David Thoreau was a collector. He collected rocks, he collected plants, he collected birds and eggs and nests, collections he tucked away into the drawers and corners of his garret room. He took long, long walks every day, observing the wildlife around him and filling up his pockets with the interesting things he encountered. For a man whose most famous quote is “Simplify, simplify,” and who continually advocated a life free from the encumbrances of material possession, he gathered an astonishing quantity of objects. This is not a contradiction. Thoreau did not collect worldly possessions, and he made only the most perfunctory attempts to earn a living. The things he collected did not enrich him, except intellectually and spiritually. They were not burdens whose maintenance consumed his labor and money. His voracious collecting was an extension of his observation and the touchstone of his moral philosophy.

Among the objects found after Thoreau’s death was a large collection of arrowheads.  Although better known for his writings on nature and politics, he was an avid collector of the Native American tools and artifacts that he found in his rambles around Concord.  For Thoreau, these tools were not artifacts so much as signposts on his intellectual road, and they figure strongly in his personal writings as he struggled to make sense of his life, Nature, and God.

Refreshments will be served following the talk.  There is no charge for this program.