Sign up below to stay informed on the latest news and upcoming events at Walden Woods.
Daily Citizen & News (Lowell), 8 May 1862
Death of Henry D. Thoreau. The Boston Transcript of last evening announces the death of this charming writer, yesterday morning, at his home in Concord . . . Mr. Thoreau was an original thinker and had become widely known and esteemed in literary circles. He has for many years shown unfaultering devotion to the anti-slavery cause. His departure, in the prime of manhood, will be greatly lamented. Mr. Thoreau was 44 years of age.
Boston Daily Advertiser, 9 May 1861
Henry D. Thoreau.
Boston Journal, 9 May 1862
Death of an Author. Henry D. Thoreau, the eccentric author of "A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers," and "Walden, or Life in the Woods," dies at Concord, Mass., on Tuesday, aged forty-four years.
The Liberator, 9 May 1862
We regret to hear of the death of Henry D. Thoreau, of Concord, Mass. He was esteemed and beloved by many.
New-York Daily Tribune, 10 May 1862
Henry D. Thoreau, the genial writer on the natural scenery of New-England, died at Concord, Mass., on Tuesday, May 6, after a protracted illness of more than eighteen months. He was a native of Boston, but removed with his family at the age of five years to Concord, where he has since resided. He graduated at Harvard College in 1837, and was nearly forty-five years old at the time of his death. His writings include A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers; Walden, or Life in the Woods; and various contributions to the periodical literature of the day. They are remarkable for their freedom and orginality of thought, their quaint humor, and their warm sympathy with all the manifold aspects of nature. His disease was consumption, and, as we are informed, "his humor and cheerful courage did not forsake him during his sickness, and he met death as gayly as Theramenes in Xenophon's story." Mr. Thoreau, in spite of the racy individuality of his character, was much beloved and respected by his townsmen, and his writings have numerous admirers. He was honored with a public funeral from the Town Hall of Concord, on Friday, the 9th inst.
Boston Transcript, 10 May 1862
The funeral of Thoreau, which took place in Concord yesterday, drawing together a large company of his townspeople, with some votive pilgrims from parts beyond, was an occasion mire impressive and memorable, by much, than is the wont of such scenes. It derived uncommon interest from the remarkable character of the man whose earthly life was ended, and from the weight and worth of the tributary words so fitly, so tenderly spoken there by friendly and illustrious lips. As that fading image of pathetic clay, strewn with wild flowers and forest sprigs, lay awaiting interment, thoughts of its former occupant seemed blent with all the local landscapes. And though the church bell — after affecting old custom — tolled the forty-four years he had numbered, we could not deem that he was dead whose ideas and sentiments were so vividly alive in our souls.
Selections from the Bible were read by the minister. A brief ode, written for the purpose by William Ellery Channing, was plaintively sung. Mr. Emerson read an address of considerable length, marked by all his felicity of conception and diction — an exquisite appreciation of the salient and subtle traits of his friend's genius — a high strain of sanitive thoughts, full of beauty and cheerfulness, chastened by the gentle sorrow of the hour. Referring to the Alpine flower adelweiss, or noble purity, which the young Switzers sometimes lose their lives in plucking from perilous heights, Mr. Emerson said, "Could we pierce to where he is we would see him wearing profuse chaplets of it; for it belongs to him. Where there is knowledge, where there is virtue, where ther eis beauty, where there is progress, there is now his home."
Salem Observer, 10 May 1862
Daily Citizen & News (Lowell), 12 May 1862
The funeral of Henry D. Thoreau, which took place in Concord on Friday, was attended by a large company of citizens of that and neighboring towns, and the services are described as unusually impressive. Selections of Scripture were read, and a brief ode, prepared for the occasion by W.E. Channing, was sung, when Mr. Emerson read an address, amrked, says the Transcript, by all his felicity of conception amd diction — an exquisite appreiation of the salient and subtle traits of his freind's genius.
The National Almanac and Annual Record for the Year 1863 (Philadelphia: George W. Childs, 1863), 1863
Necrology of Alumni of Harvard College, 1851-52 to 1862-63 (Boston: John Wilson and Son, 1864)
Proceedings of the Boston Society of Natural History, Vol. IX (Boston: Printed for the Society, 1865)
May 21, 1862.
Henry D. Thoreau, of Concord, Mass., died, at the age of 44 years, of pulmonary consumption.
Dr. Jackson proposed the following resolutions, which were adopted: —
Resolved, That the Boston Society of Natural History has learned with profound regret the premature decease of their corresponding member, Henry D. Thoreau, of Concord, who was a most faithful and devoted student of nature, a keen and appreciating observer, whose researches, had longer life been granted him, promised important acquisitions to science.
Dr. Jackson announced the donation of Mr. Thoreau's collections to the Society. These consisted of
Supplement: Cyclopedia of American Literature, Obituaries of Authors, Conintuation of Former Articles, Notices of Earlier and Later Writers Omitted from Previous Editions (New York: Charles Scribner and Company, 1866)
HENRY D. THOREAU. [Vol . II., p. 658-6S6.] Mr. Thoreau died of consumption, at Concord, Massachusetts, May 7, 1862. Several volumes of his writings have been published from his manuscripts and uncollected essays since his death: Excursions in Field and Forest, the Maine Woods, Cape Cod, Letters to Various Persons. A biographical notice of the author, by his friend Mr. R. W. Emerson, is prefixed to the volume entitled "Excursions" (Boston, 1863). It is a pleasing sketch of the thoughtful scholar and original student of nature, whose peculiarities and humors of character, love of independence, kindly vein of observation, and happy talent of description will long cause his writings to be cherished.
Thoreau's grave (Photographer: Herbert Gleason, from The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, 1906)
Simplicity is the law of nature for men as well as for flowers. — Journal, 29 February 1852