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Writers/Changed the World



Henry David Thoreau Ecard
"This world is but a canvas to our imaginations."


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Henry David Thoreau Educational Posters
for the literature and social studies classrooms, and home schoolers.

literature > HENRY DAVID THOREAU < philosophers < social studies < notable men

Henry David Thoreau, Giclee Print
Ernest Hemingway Signature

Henry David Thoreau
b. 7-12-1817; Concord, MA
d. 5-6-1862; Concord (tuberculosis)

Henry David Thoreau, little known outside his small circle of friends during his lifetime, is best remembered as a leading Transcendentalist, anarchist, author, poet, philosopher, and naturalist. He was also a teacher who resigned from his position rather than mete out corporal punishment.

Thoreau's Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and essay, Civil Disobedience, an argument for individual resistance to civil government in moral opposition to an unjust state, are staples in literature and American history curriculums.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, a friend and mentor to Thoreau, introduced him to Ellery Channing, Margaret Fuller, Bronson Alcott, and Nathaniel Hawthorne.

When he was asked in his last weeks if he had made his peace with God, Thoreau responded: “I did not know we had ever quarreled.”

FYI - in the 1950s Senator Joe McCarthy got the book containing the essay Civil Disobedience banned from libraries.

• “Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed, and in such desperate enterprises? If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.”
• “Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.”
• “City life is millions of people being lonesome together.”
• “Shall I not have intelligence with the earth? Am I not partly leaves and vegetable mould myself?”
• “Science does not know its debt to imagination.”
• “As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitiude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.”
• “All change is a miracle to contemplate; but it is a miracle which is taking place every instant.”
• “What's the use of a fine house if you haven't got a tolerable planet to put it on?”
• “This whole earth which we inhabit is but a point in space. How far apart, think you, dwell the most distant inhabitants of yonder star, the breadth of whose disk cannot be appreciated by our instruments?”
• “In August, the large masses of berries, which, when in flower, had attracted many wild bees, gradually assumed their bright velvety crimson hue, and by their weight again bent down and broke their tender limbs.”
• “I once had a sparrow alight upon my shoulder for a moment, while I was hoeing in a village garden, and I felt that I was more distinguished by that circumstance that I should have been by any epaulet I could have worn.”
• “Water is the only drink for a wise man.”
• “Most of the luxuries and many of the so-called comforts of life are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind.”
• “... live at home like a traveler.”
• “If the day and the night are such that you greet them with joy, and life emits a fragrance like flowers and sweet-scented herbs, is more elastic, more starry, more immortal — that is your success.”

Literature and Language Arts Index

Henry David Thoreau American Writer, Giclee Print
Henry David Thoreau American Writer,
Giclee Print

Henry David Thoreau American Writer, Giclee Print
Henry David Thoreau
American Writer,
Giclee Print

Henry David Thoreau Art Print
Henry David Thoreau
Art Print

Writers Who Changed the World - Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau
Writers Who
Changed the World

Henry David Thoreau

“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” WaldenHenry David Thoreau posters

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Mitosis Poster
Mitosis Poster

Mitosis Poster
“All change is a miracle to contemplate; but it is a miracle which is taking place every instant.” Henry David Thoreau

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Heaven and Earth Thoreau Quote, Art Print
“Heaven is under
our feet as well
as over our heads.”
Henry David Thoreau,
Art Print

Explore quote art print, Thoreau
“My life is like
a stroll on the beach
– as near to the edge as I can go.” Thoreau, Art Print

Dreams, Motivational Poster
Motivational Poster

“Let go of the past and go for the future. Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you imagined.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

Pollution & the Environment Wall Poster
Pollution & the Environment
Art Print

Pollution & the Environment

ecology posters

Sunset viewed from the frozen surface of Walden Pond Giclee Print
Sunset viewed from the frozen surface of Walden Pond Giclee Print

Sunset viewed from the frozen surface of Walden Pond
National Geographic

lakes posters

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Walden by Henry David Thoreau - On July 4, 1845, Henry David Thoreau moved into the cabin he had built on the shore of Walden Pond, thus beginning the most famous experiment in simple living in American history. This new edition of Walden, annotated by the distinguished Thoreau scholar Walter Harding and illustrated with Thoreau's own drawings, was published on the 150th anniversary of that event. In the third chapter, Thoreau writes, "How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book?" For many readers, Walden is that book. Written over a century and a half ago, this classic autobiographical account of solitary living, refusal to live by the rules, to accumulate wealth, and to live with the natural world, grows more meaningful every day, whether you are reading it for the first time or the hundredth.

Civil Disobedience and Other Essays by Henry David Thoreau - Philosopher, naturalist and rugged individualist, Thoreau has inspired generations of readers to think for themselves and to find meaning and beauty in nature. This representative sampling includes five of his most frequently read and cited essays: “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience” (1849), “Life without Principle” (1863), “Slavery in Massachusetts” (1854), “A Plea for Captain John Brown” (1869) and “Walking” (1862).

Meditations by Henry David Thoreau: A Light in the Woods, Chris Highland, ed.- When Henry David Thoreau died at the age of forty-four in 1862, he had written a forest of articles and essays that eventually earned him a reputation as a first-rate naturalist, conservationist, and social critic. His gravesite in Concord, Massachusetts, is a pilgrimage site for readers who still turn to Walden, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, Maine Woods, “Civil Disobedience,” and “Walking” for inspiration. Thoreau was a supreme articulator of America's conscience when the country was industrializing, facing battle over slavery, and developing its public education system. His thoughts are brook-clear and strangely prescient today.

The Days of Henry David Thoreau by Walter Harding - Henry David Thoreau is generally remembered as the author of Walden and “Civil Disobedience,” a recluse of the woods and a political protester who once went to jail. To his contemporaries he was a minor disciple of Emerson; he has since joined the ranks of America's most respected and beloved writers. Few, however, really know the complexity of the man they revere--wanderer and scholar, naturalist and humorist, teacher and surveyor, abolitionist and poet, Transcendentalist and anthropologist, inventor and social critic, and, above all, individualist.

In this widely acclaimed biography, the eminent Thoreau scholar Walter Harding presents all of these Thoreaus. Scholars will find here the culmination of a lifetime of research and study, meticulously documented, while general readers will find an absorbing story of a remarkable man. Writing with supreme lucidity, Harding has marshaled all the facts so as best to “let them speak for themselves.” Thoreau's thoughtfulness and stubbornness, his more than ordinarily human amalgam of the earthy and sublime, his unquenchable vitality emerge to the reader as they did to his own family, friends, and critics. The new afterword evaluates new scholarship about Thoreau.

Henry David Thoreau and the Moral Agency of Knowing by Alfred I. Tauber -
In his graceful philosophical account, Alfred I. Tauber shows why Thoreau still seems so relevant today – more relevant in many respects than he seemed to his contemporaries. Although Thoreau has been skillfully and thoroughly examined as a writer, naturalist, mystic, historian, social thinker, Transcendentalist, and lifelong student, we may find in Tauber's portrait of Thoreau the moralist a characterization that binds all these aspects of his career together.

Thoreau was caught at a critical turn in the history of science, between the ebb of Romanticism and the rising tide of positivism. He responded to the challenges posed by the new ideal of objectivity not by rejecting the scientific worldview, but by humanizing it for himself. Tauber portrays Thoreau as a man whose moral vision guided his life's work. Each of Thoreau's projects reflected a self-proclaimed “metaphysical ethics,” an articulated program of self-discovery and self-knowing. By writing, by combining precision with poetry in his naturalist pursuits and simplicity with mystical fervor in his daily activity, Thoreau sought to live a life of virtue – one he would characterize as marked by deliberate choice. This unique vision of human agency and responsibility will still seem fresh and contemporary to readers at the start of the twenty-first century.

Celebrating Henry (1998 Video) -


  • The Thoreau Society - The Thoreau Society is the oldest and largest organization devoted to an American author and is dedicated to promoting Thoreau's life and works through education, outreach, and advocacy.
  • The Thoreau Reader - Annotated works of Henry Thoreau, 1817-1862
  • Walden Pond State Reservation - Massachusetts Department of Conservation & Recreation. Because of Thoreau's legacy, Walden Pond has been designated a National Historic Landmark and is considered the birthplace of the conservation movement. Park Interpreters provide tours and ongoing educational programs. The Reservation encompasses 400 acres which includes the 102-foot deep glacial kettle-hole pond. Mostly undeveloped woods totaling 2680 acres, called "Walden Woods" surround the reservation.
  • Ecology Hall of Fame - biography and articles on ecological movement.

Quotes about Thoreau ~
• “I became convinced that noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. No other person has been more eloquent and passionate in getting this idea across than Henry David Thoreau. As a result of his writings and personal witness, we are the heirs of a legacy of creative protest. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr., Autobiography

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last updated 11/16/14