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Henry David Thoreau
Courtesy of Cornell University Library
Nineteenth Century Periodicals Collection

Concord Books. [Harper's new monthly magazine. / Volume 51, Issue 301, June 1875]

Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau was born on July 12th, 1817 in Concord, Massachusetts in the home of his maternal grandmother, Mrs. Minot. His parents were Cynthia Dunbar and John Thoreau. His father was a businessman and active in the Concord Fire Society. Thoreau's mother spent her time raising Henry and his three siblings, Helen, John and Sophia. Both of Henry's parents loved nature.

After graduating from Harvard University in 1837, he taught school and tutored for a short period of time.

From 1845 to 1847, Thoreau moved to a hut that he constructed on the edge of Walden Pond near Concord, Massachusetts. It was in this location that he wrote A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, a trip he made with his brother John. His most famous literary work, Walden or life in the Woods was written later. His goal in life was to live simply:

"To live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach."

Click to see larger image
Title page of the first edition of Walden

Picture sketched by Sophia, Thoreau's sister
Courtesy of The Library of Congress

Thorea's Furniture
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Original desks, chairs and bed from Thoreau's Cabin
Thoreau Room Antiquarian Society now Concord Museum
Alfred Winslow Hosmer 1851 - 1903, Photographer
Courtesy of the Concord Free Public Library

"I had three chairs in my house; one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society."

Henry David Thoreau

Thoreau's Flute
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Thoreau's Flute, Telescope, and a Copy of Wilson's Ornithology
Alfred Winslow Hosmer 1851 - 1903, Photographer
Courtesy of the Concord Free Public Library

Many consider Thoreau to be the father of the American conservation movement. He loved to walk. His walking stick was notched for measuring things. He also carried a flute, a music book for pressing flowers and a bird identification book by Alexander Wilson. During the latter part of his life he observed and recorded the natural history in Concord.

Henry David Thoreau died May 6th 1862 in the Thoreau-Alcott house, after suffering a prolonged case of tuberculosis, a disease which plagued Henry throughout most of his adult life. He is buried on Authors' Ridge in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery located in Concord.

Walden Pond
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1846 Survey Map of Walden Pond
Courtesy of the Library of Congress

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