Herbert Gleason photograph of the Town House, 1918

40. Gleason Photograph of the Town House, 1918

This idyllic Herbert Wendell Gleason image of the Town House in high summer (July 15, 1918) offers no hint that America was at war when it was taken. Gleason (1855-1937) was a major American landscape photographer, a naturalist, and a devoted Thoreauvian who visited Concord repeatedly between 1899 and 1937 to capture images of Thoreau Country. His photographs were used to illustrate the 1906 Manuscript and Walden Editions of Thoreau's writings. He was a friend of Stephen Mather, first director of the National Park Service, who appointed him Interior Department Inspector, in which capacity Gleason photographed the nation's early national parks and areas under consideration for national park status. He was also a highly successful slide lecturer. The Concord Free Public Library holds the major archive of Gleason's work - approximate 7,000 photographic negatives, 200 hand-colored lantern slides, hundreds of prints mounted in albums, and Gleason papers as well.