The Writings of Henry D. Thoreau Dunshee Ambrotype of Thoreau, 1861 (Courtesy Concord Museum)
What's New About the Project About Thoreau's Writings About Thoreau Resources for Research
"Thoreau's Journals, at home of E. H. Russell, Worcester, February 26, 1901" (Courtesy Concord Free Public Library)
Thoreau's Manuscripts
Thoreau's Handwriting
Online Journal Transcripts
Thoreau's Correspondence
First Publications of Thoreau's Books and Essays
Recommended Editions of Thoreau's Works
Selected Editions of Thoreau's Works
  HDT's correspondence

"So the sympathy of a friend gives plainness and point to my speech.
This is the advantage of letter writing."

----Journal, 29 December 1840

Many scholars and editors, most notably the late Walter Harding, have contributed to the three-volume set of correspondence in the Princeton Edition of The Writings of Henry D. Thoreau. Correspondence 1: 1834-1848, edited by Professor Robert Hudspeth, was published by Princeton University Press on August 1, 2013. Correspondence 2: 1849-1856 is in production, and work on Correspondence 3: 1857-1862 is ongoing.

As of July 2015, six libraries have scanned and digitized some or all of their manuscripts of letters: the Abernethy Library at Middlebury College, the Beinecke Library at Yale University, the Berg Collection at the New York Public Library, the Harry Ransom Center at the University Of Texas at Austin, the Houghton Library at Harvard University, and the John Hay Library at Brown University. Links to letters to and from Thoreau that are included in these digital collections can be found at Correspondence 1-3.


1834-1848      1849-1856       1857-1862

Divided chronologically into three sections, this is a complete list of all extant letters, whether in manuscript or print form. The list notes whether the letter is to (t) or from (f) Thoreau, notes editorial additions in brackets, includes the name of correspondents and their location, and provides manuscript and repository information. A key to abbreviations used follows each list.

For information about Thoreau letters in print, see "A Calendar of the Correspondence of Henry D. Thoreau," by Carolyn Kappes, Walter Harding, Randy F. Nelson, and Elizabeth Witherell, in Studies in the American Renaissance 1982, ed. Joel Myerson (Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1982), 325-399.

If you would like further information about the manuscripts, contact Elizabeth Witherell. We cannot guarantee that ownership and location have not changed, especially for manuscripts owned by dealers or in private hands.

Information about the location of Thoreau's manuscripts is crucial to preparing our edition of Thoreau's work. If you know of manuscript pages or letters that you think we may not know of, please contact Elizabeth Witherell.