Saturday, September 6, 2014

Henry David Thoreau Returns from Walden Pond (September 6, 1847)

On this date in American literary history – September 6, 1847, Henry David Thoreau moves in with Ralph Waldo Emerson and his family in Concord, Massachusetts, after living for two years in a shack he built himself on Walden Pond. Thoreau graduated from Harvard and started a school with his brother. But in 1839, he decided while on a canoe trip that he wasn't cut out for teaching. Instead, he decided to devote himself to nature and poetry. Deeply influenced by his friend Emerson's poetry and essays, Thoreau started a journal and began publishing essays in the Transcendentalist journal The Dial. At age 25, Thoreau left Concord for New York, but detested city life and returned after a year. Two years later, at age 27, he decided to live by Transcendentalist principles, spending time alone with nature and supporting himself with his own work. He built his home and lived off his garden for two years while reading and writing. In 1854, his collection of essays, Walden, or Life in the Woods, was published. During his time at Walden, Thoreau spent a brief time in jail for refusing to pay taxes to support the war with Mexico. He later wrote “Civil Disobedience,” one of his most famous essays, based on the experience. After Thoreau's time at Walden, he wrote magazine articles and became an avid abolitionist, working to smuggle escaped slaves to freedom through the Underground Railroad. He died in 1862.


Michael Thomas Barry is the author of numerous award winning books that includes the soon to be released America’s Literary Legends: The Lives and Burial Places of 50 Great Writers. For more information visit Michael’s website The book can be ordered from all fine book sellers that include Powell Books, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon. 

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