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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Am 278.5-278.5.25

Henry David Thoreau manuscripts


Manuscripts of American essayist, poet and transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau.


  • Creation: 1837-1970


Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Images linked to this finding aid are intended for public access and educational use. This material is owned and/or held by the Houghton Library, and is provided solely for the purpose of teaching or individual research. Any other use, including commercial reuse, mounting on other systems, or other forms of redistribution requires the permission of the curator.


1.25 linear feet (1 box, 5 volumes)

Includes drafts, fragments, and some complete autograph manuscripts for poems, essays, journals, a lecture, and notes. Includes Thoreau's first published piece, Obituary for Miss Anna Jones, fragments of Walden and Civil disobedience, two essays he wrote while a student at Harvard College, his translation of Prometheus Bound, and a 1970 transcription of his fragmentary journals of the 1840s among others. Also includes a journal fragment by his sister, Sophia E. Thoreau.

Biographical / Historical

Henry David Thoreau was an American essayist, poet, naturalist, and philosopher of the New England Transcendentalist movement. He was graduate of Harvard College with the Class of 1837.


Organized in call number order.

Physical Location

b, gen

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Materials received at various times from various sources. See items for full acquistion information.


For additional information and accurate texts of Thoreau's complete works, see The writings of Henry D. Thoreau.
Thoreau, Henry David, 1817-1862. Henry David Thoreau manuscripts, 1837-1970: Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard College Library
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, archives, and more. Houghton Library's collections represent the scope of human experience from ancient Egypt to twenty-first century Cambridge. With strengths primarily in North American and European history, literature, and culture, collections range in media from printed books and handwritten manuscripts to maps, drawings and paintings, prints, posters, photographs, film and audio recordings, and digital media, as well as costumes, theater props, and a wide range of other objects. Houghton Library has historically focused on collecting the written record of European and Eurocentric North American culture, yet it holds a large and diverse number of primary sources valuable for research on the languages, culture and history of indigenous peoples of the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania.

Houghton Library’s Reading Room is free and open to all who wish to use the library’s collections.

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