Of Interest


Library Information & Catalogs

Library Hours

We encourage people interested in knowing more about the life and writings of Thoreau, or who want to see our exhibits, to come and visit. The library is open most weekdays, Monday through Friday, 10-4. The library has limited staff: to be sure staff is on hand when you come, we encourage you to call ahead at (781) 259-4730 or e-mail the library. We look forward to greeting you!

The library is closed on: New Year’s Eve Day and New Year’s Day; Martin Luther King, Jr. Day; Presidents Day; Patriots Day; Memorial Day; Independence Day; Labor Day; Columbus Day; Veterans Day; Thanksgiving Day and the Friday following Thanksgiving Day; Christmas Eve Day and Christmas Day.

Researchers: Please e-mail the library for an appointment to enable the Curator to better assist you.

General Public: Exhibits are open to the public during normal library hours  listed above.

Revolving exhibits from the collections are on display in the library. Items currently on display include:

  • Thoreau autograph manuscript leaves from Cape Cod, "Life without Principle," "Walking," and Walden, as well as the complete 2nd draft of Thoreau's essay "Sir Walter Raleigh"
  • Rare whole brick from the site of Thoreau’s Walden house excavated in 1945 by archaeologist Roland Wells Robbins
  • 1st printng of Thoreau's “Ktaadn, and the Maine Woods” from
    Sartain’ s Union Magazine of Literature and Art, July 1848
  • An original watercolor painted by Thoreau’s sister, Sophia
  • George Bernard Shaw, holograph letter signed, 8 May 1948, on Thoreau's vegetarianism
  • Aesthetic Papers, edited by Elizabeth P. Peabody (Boston: The Editor, 1849) containing the 1st printing of Thoreau's "Resistance to Civil Government" (later republished as "Civil Disobedience")
  • Albert Einstein, typed letter signed, 19 August 1953, on Thoreau and Gandhi
  • Pencil box, ca. 1843-45, and one dozen pencils in original wrapper, from J. Thoreau and Co.
  • Thoreau autograph survey: “Sketch-plan made by Henry D. Thoreau of R.W. Emerson’s ledge wood-lots beyond Walden"
  • Walden; or, Life in the Woods by Henry D. Thoreau (Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1854) First edition, first printing
Wireless Internet access is available in the library. 

Library Tours and Talks

Library Gallery Talk: A guided tour and talk for groups

Can't bring your class or group to the library? Let's Skype:

Guidelines for the Use of the Library

"Cautions are not quite needless in the Athenaeum and City Library." 
          — Ralph Waldo Emerson "Behavior"

Go to : Guidelines for Use of the Library 

Library Volunteer Opportunities

Catalogs & Finding Aids

Thoreau Institute Library Catalog (Public Access Catalog)

Special Collections


Thoreau Institute Library Reading Room

To say that a man is your Friend means commonly no more than this, that he is not your enemy. — A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers

More Quotations