The Writings of Henry D. Thoreau Dunshee Ambrotype of Thoreau, 1861 (Courtesy Concord Museum)
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"Thoreau's Journals, at home of E. H. Russell, Worcester, February 26, 1901" (Courtesy Concord Free Public Library)
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Manuscript volume 18 of Thoreau's Journal begins partway through the entry for September 3, 1854, and closes at the end of the May 12, 1855, entry; the final entry is followed by an index, written in pencil, that covers the contents of pages 1-28. The transcript, which represents the manuscript as closely as it is practicable to do in type, was made from a photocopy of the original owned by the Morgan Library & Museum in New York City (MA 1302:24). It has been proofread against a photocopy of the manuscript but not against the original, and it has not been edited. (For the beginning of the September 3 entry, see Journal 8: 1854, ed. Sandra Harbert Petrulionis [Princeton University Press, 2002], pp. 313-314.) Thoreau did not prepare his Journal for publication, and throughout this transcript the reader will find anomalies including abbreviations, incomplete words and sentences, and misspellings.

In the transcript, added and interlined text is positioned approximately as in the manuscript, but it appears in a smaller type size than text written on line. Text written in pencil appears in gray type. Uncertain readings appear in braces. "X"s in the text indicate Thoreau's observations of the stage of development of individual plants (for more information, see Journal 6: 1853, ed. William Rossi and Heather Kirk Thomas [Princeton University Press, 2000], pp. 373-374). Thoreau's list marks (//) in left and right margins indicate information about natural events that signal or are related to seasonal features; Thoreau used this information later as he compiled and constructed his phenological lists and charts. (For an overview of Thoreau's phenological project, see "An Introduction to Henry David Thoreau's Phenological Data, Collected in Concord, Massachusetts, Between 1851 and 1861.") Thoreau's drawings are positioned within the transcript to correspond as closely as possible to their location on the manuscript pages. Footnotes describe features of the manuscript that cannot be represented in type.

The image of manuscript volume 18 is available here by the courtesy of the Morgan Library & Museum. This image is a third-generation reproduction, scanned at the Thoreau Edition from a set of Copyflo images made in the 1960s from a black-and-white microfilm provided to Walter Harding by the Morgan Library.

Dates of entries have been bookmarked in both sets of images. If your browser does not show the navigation pane buttons when you open the link, 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.

Manuscript volume 18 forms the basis for Journal 9: 1854-1855, which is being edited by Wesley T. Mott, with Laura Dassow Walls.

Revised November 2018

  • September 3, 1854 - May 12, 1855: Transcript
  • September 3, 1854 - May 12, 1855: Manuscript
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