Why Thoreau Still Matters: Lessons on Environmentalism & Civil Disobedience

200 years after Henry David Thoreau’s birth in Concord, Massachusetts, a distinguished panel will consider Thoreau’s lessons for today’s world. Explore how Thoreau’s ideas have informed 21st-century civil disobedience and contemporary conversations about humans’ relationships with the natural world.

Panelists will include artist and filmmaker PAUL TURANO (Wander, Wonder, Wilderness), LAURA DASSOW WALLS, author of the new biography, Henry David Thoreau: A Life, acclaimed memoirist HOWARD AXELROD (The Point of Vanishing), MARIA MADISON, president of The Robbins House: Concord’s African American History historic site, and the Rev. FRED SMALL, Minister for Climate Justice at Arlington Street Church.

This event is part of the series “Boston is Thoreau Country: A Multimedia Series Celebrating Thoreau’s Legacy in the Hub,” Co-Presented by Old South Meeting House, The Thoreau Society, and the Boston Literary District and co-sponsored by The Walden Woods Project. CHRISTOPHER LYDON (WBUR Radio host, “Open Source with Christopher Lydon”) will moderate the event.

This program is made possible with funding from the Lowell Institute. Free and open to the public, registration is requested here.


#Thoreau200: A Screening of PAUL TURANO’s Wonder, Wander, Wilderness

As part of the city-wide festival Boston is Thoreau Country and #Thoreau200, in honor of the great writer’s bicentennial, Emerson College is pleased to host a screening of PAUL TURANO’s film, Wonder, Wander, Wilderness.

Wander, Wonder, Wilderness is a documentary project that explores the urban wilds and parks of Greater Boston. This hour long essay film chronicles the filmmaker’s engagement with green spaces in an urban environment and explores the complex notions that they reveal about human ecology. Discussion with director and professor Paul Turano to follow.

This event, cosponsored by the Boston Literary District, is free and open to the public. Don’t miss it!


The Legacy of Publishers Ticknor and Fields in the Old Corner Bookstore

Publishing company Ticknor and Fields reinvented American publishing.  Housed across the street from Old South Meeting House at the Old Corner Bookstore from 1832 to 1865, Ticknor and Fields helped establish the careers of some of the nation’s literary greats, including Longfellow, Hawthorne, and Thoreau. In this lively talk, literary historian ROB VELELLA will share highlights from Ticknor and Fields’s evolution, its role in making Boston the center of 19th-century American literary culture, and how the Old Corner Bookstore headquarters was nicknamed “the hub of the Hub.”

 

Part of the Series “Boston is Thoreau Country: A Multimedia Series Celebrating Thoreau’s Legacy in the Hub,” Co-Presented by Old South Meeting House, The Thoreau Society, and the Boston Literary District. Co-Sponsored by the Walden Woods Project.

 

$6; FREE FOR OSMH MEMBERS.


“An Angel of Light”: Thoreau’s Plea for Captain John Brown

On November 1, 1859, Thoreau delivered a speech in Boston that sparked the abolitionist newspaper The Liberator to comment that John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry, Virginia “seems to have awakened the hermit of Concord.” Delivered at Tremont Temple, this speech praised Brown’s character in the aftermath of his attempt to incite an armed slave revolt in Harpers Ferry.  Thoreau described Brown as “an old-fashioned man in respect for the Constitution,” “a man of great common sense,” even “an angel of light.”  Return to 1859 and experience Henry Thoreau, portrayed by historian RICHARD SMITH, reading his “Plea for Captain John Brown” at the Meeting House! After the address, “Mr. Thoreau” will take questions from the audience.

Part of the Series “Boston is Thoreau Country: A Multimedia Series Celebrating Thoreau’s Legacy in the Hub,” Co-Presented by Old South Meeting House, The Thoreau Society, and the Boston Literary District. Co-Sponsored by the Walden Woods Project.

 

$6; FREE FOR OSMH MEMBERS.


Music from the Thoreau Family Library

The Old South Meeting House and the Boston Literary District invite you to experience the intersection of politics, music, and Thoreau family life in this dynamic performance by the ENDICOTT CHAMBER PLAYERS.

Specialists in performing on historical instruments, the Players will perform songs, marches, and dances from a collection of printed music and manuscripts that Henry’s sister Sophia donated to the Concord Public Library, and a volume of flute duets discovered at the Alcott family home, Orchard House.  The program features the abolitionist song “The Captive’s Lament,” printed on a page torn from the Ladies’ Emancipation Gazette.  Historian RICHARD SMITH will provide commentary to complement the performance.

PLUS: This evening of music recreating Henry David Thoreau’s family parlor includes free refreshments!

 

Part of the Series “Boston is Thoreau Country: A Multimedia Series Celebrating Thoreau’s Legacy in the Hub,” Co-Presented by Old South Meeting House, The Thoreau Society, and the Boston Literary District. Co-Sponsored by the Walden Woods Project.

 

This program is made possible with funding from the Lowell Institute. FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC, registration requested at http://osmhnov8-17.bpt.me


Was Henry a Hippie? Locating Thoreau in a Changing Modern World at State Library of Massachusetts

Please join us for an author talk on Wednesday, November 6, with renowned environmental historian Dr. Richard W. Judd, author of the recent book, Finding Thoreau: The Meaning of Nature in the Making of an Environmental Icon. To register, please visit: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SLM-RichardJudd

Henry David Thoreau is one of America’s most widely-recognized authors, but at the time of his death in 1862, he was relatively unknown as a writer. In his book Finding Thoreau, Dr. Judd details Thoreau’s reversal of fortune over the years, from obscurity to fame as an environmental icon. By studying how critics in different ages responded to Thoreau’s writings, this well-researched book explores the ways in which the concepts of the environment and nature have evolved in American culture over the decades.

Dr. Judd is the author of numerous books and articles on the topics of conservation and environmental history, focusing especially on Maine and northern New England. Recently retired, he spent over three decades as a Professor in the History Department at the University of Maine. He has also served as the editor on a number of projects, including Historical Atlas of Maine, the Journal of Forest History, and the periodical Maine History.