THE MIDDLESEX AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY, 1858
55. Ralph Waldo Emerson. “Address,” pages -52
in Transactions of the Middlesex Agricultural Society, for the
Year 1858 (Concord: Benjamin Tolman, 1858). Letterpress on paper;
in original printed peach paper wrapper. Myerson D31. Signature
of E.R. Hoar on front.
Membership in agricultural societies was one indication of a 19th century farmer’s openness to new trends. Concord farmers had a choice of two local organizations, the Middlesex Agricultural Society and the much smaller, more local Concord Farmer’s Club. Although its membership included many working farmers, the activities of the Middlesex Agricultural Society drew a number of Concord residents for whom farming was more recreational than vocational.
In 1858, Emerson delivered an address at the annual cattle show and exhibition of the Middlesex Agricultural Society. Edward Emerson commented that the speech showed that his father “had not lived in the country in vain, and had seen and recognized the great lines on which the farmer must lay out his year’s work.” The piece was collected in 1870 in Emerson’s Society and Solitude (Myerson A31), under the title “Farming.”
In addition to delivering the address, Emerson also entered pears and grapes at the 1858 exhibition.
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