Early Collectors and Donors: Alfred Winslow (Fred) Hosmer’s Thoreau Collection

18.  Henry Stephens Salt, as enhanced by Alfred Winslow Hosmer.  Life of Henry David Thoreau (London: Walter Scott, 1896): Alfred Hosmer’s Grangerized (extra-illustrated) copy of the second edition of Salt’s biography, the original single volume expanded to two volumes through the addition of photographs, letters, and manuscripts between 1896 and 1903.


From Alfred W. Hosmer’s Thoreau library (this title now part of the CFPL Vault Collection).  Gift of Herbert Buttrick Hosmer, 1949.

In compiling his Grangerized Salt, Fred Hosmer added photographs accompanied by quotations from Thoreau’s work, letters, other original manuscript items, and hand-written indexes.  The manuscripts he bound in include letters by Thoreau; letters to various correspondents (Thoreau among them) by Harrison Gray Otis Blake, William Ellery Channing, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Horace Greeley, Parker Pillsbury, Daniel Ricketson, Maria Thoreau, Sophia Thoreau, and others; and a manuscript school composition (“The Seasons”) and certificate of surveying in the hand of Henry David Thoreau.   

This—the first of two volumes of Hosmer’s Grangerized Salt—includes an added letter from Emerson to Thoreau (“R. Waldo E.” to “My dear Henry,” New York, February 12, [1843]).  Emerson inquires about the forthcoming April issue of The Dial, which Thoreau was editing for him.  (Emerson’s busy lecture schedule prevented him from editing that issue.)  He asks Thoreau to encourage Charles Lane to submit something for publication.

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