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Henry David Thoreau Primary Sources

Historical documents. What clues can you gather about Henry David Thoreau, the time, place, players, and culture?


Thoreau's classic about life on the Pond.

"Civil Disobedience"

The essay Thoreau wrote about his experience in jail for refusing to pay his taxes.

The Maine Woods

Thoreau's 1864 book on his sojourns in, um, the Maine woods.

"Slavery in Massachusetts"

Thoreau's abolitionist essay.


Emerson's 1862 essay in The Atlantic eulogizing his late friend.

Ellery Channing on Thoreau

The author's contemporary remembers his friend.

Updike on Thoreau

An essay by writer John Updike on Thoreau and his Walden.

Henry Thoreau: Transcendental Economist

An excerpt from a book by Vernon L. Parrington that won the 1928 Pulitzer Prize.

Ten Volumes of Thoreau

An 1891 essay by Thoreau-hater Joshua Caldwell.

19th Century Outsider

A 1958 essay in Time Magazine about Thoreau.

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