"Hardly a man takes a half hour's nap after dinner, but when he wakes he holds up his head and asks, 'What's the news?' as if the rest of mankind had stood his sentinels."
Announcements of the publication of Thoreau Edition volumes and new features of this Web site appear here, as well as upcoming events and items of interest. Project and Web site awards are listed and described on our awards page.
Images of Thoreau Manuscripts Now Available On Line: As of March 2017, ten libraries have scanned and digitized some or all of their manuscripts by Thoreau, or of manuscript letters to him: the Abernethy Library at Middlebury College, the Beinecke Library at Yale University, the Berg Collection at the New York Public Library, the Ella Strong Denison Library at Scripps College, the John Hay Library at Brown University, the Houghton Library at Harvard University, which provides access to digital images in several collections of Thoreau material--MS Am 278.5-278.5.25, MS Am 1280.214.1, MS Am 3032, and HEW 12.7.10, the William Munroe Special Collections at the Concord Free Public Library, the Joel Myerson Collection of Nineteenth-Century American Manuscripts, Images, and Ephemera at the University of South Carolina, the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin, and the George A. Smathers Libraries at the University of Florida.
Links to letters to and from Thoreau that are included in these digital collections can be found at Correspondence 1-3.
Revised March 2017
Online Journal Transcript: Images of the manuscripts of the sixteen manuscript volumes Thoreau kept from September 3, 1854, through his last entry on November 3, 1861, can now be viewed along with images of the transcripts. Thanks to Professor Kathryn Dolan and her students in the Opportunities for Undergrauate Research Experiences program at Missouri University of Science and Technology, dates of entries have been bookmarked in the images of the manuscripts as well as the transcripts. If your browser does not show the navigation pane buttons when you open the link to a file, download the file (right click and print and save it as a PDF). When you open it on your computer you should see the bookmark icon among others to the left of the image of the page.
18 (September 3, 1854 - May 12, 1855)
Revised July 2015
Correspondence 1: 1834-1848: Published on August 1, 2013, this is the inaugural volume in the first full-scale scholarly edition of Thoreau's correspondence in more than half a century. When completed, the edition's three volumes will include every extant letter written or received by Thoreau--in all almost 650 letters, roughly 150 more than in any previous edition, including dozens that have never before been published.
Correspondence 1 contains 163 letters, ninety-six written by Thoreau and sixty-seven to him. Twenty-five are collected here for the first time; of those, fourteen have never before been published. These letters provide an intimate view of Thoreau's path from college student to published author. At the beginning of the volume, Thoreau is a Harvard sophomore; by the end, some of his essays and poems have appeared in periodicals and he is at work on A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers and Walden. The early part of the volume documents Thoreau's friendships with college classmates and his search for work after graduation, while letters to his brother and sisters reveal warm, playful relationships among the siblings. In May 1843, Thoreau moves to Staten Island for eight months to tutor a nephew of Emerson's. This move results in the richest period of letters in the volume: thirty-two by Thoreau and nineteen to him. From 1846 through 1848, letters about publishing and lecturing provide details about Thoreau's first years as a professional author. As the volume closes, the most ruminative and philosophical of Thoreau's epistolary relationships begins, that with Harrison Gray Otis Blake. Thoreau's longer letters to Blake amount to informal lectures, and in fact Blake invited a small group of friends to readings when these arrived.
Following every letter, annotations identify correspondents, individuals mentioned, and books quoted, cited, or alluded to, and describe events to which the letters refer. A historical introduction characterizes the letters and connects them with the events of Thoreau's life, a textual introduction lays out the editorial principles and procedures followed, and a general introduction discusses the significance of letter-writing in the mid-nineteenth century and the history of the publication of Thoreau's letters. Finally, a thorough index provides comprehensive access to the letters and annotations.
The volume's editor, Robert N. Hudspeth, is Research Professor of English at the Claremont Graduate University and professor emeritus of English at Redlands University. He is the editor of The Letters of Margaret Fuller and the author of Ellery Channing.
Posted August 2013