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"Concord, which is my Rome”: Henry Thoreau and His Home Town Exhibition [Watch Exhibit Opening Night]
July 7 - October 30, 2017

"Concord, which is my Rome": Henry Thoreau and His Home Town: An exhibition drawn from the William Munroe Special Collections of the Concord Free Public Library (CFPL) to celebrate the bicentennial anniversary of Thoreau's birth from July 7 through October 30, 2017, in the Library's Art Gallery.

July 12, 2017, marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Henry David Thoreau. The Library is commemorating the event with the first major exhibition of its kind, "Concord, which is my Rome": Henry David Thoreau and his Home Town.

The exhibition, the third of three CFPL exhibits commemorating the bicentennial of Thoreau's birth, explores Thoreau's life and work within the context of his hometown through manuscript materials, documents, letters, photographs, maps, surveys, engravings, record and account books, and related artwork, all exclusively from the library's William Munroe Special Collections.

Gala Opening occurred on Friday, July 14, 2017, at 7:00-9:00 p.m. [Watch Gala Opening Video]

Our opening speaker was Laura Dassow Walls, William P. and Hazel B. White Professor of English at the University of Notre Dame, where she is also affiliated with the History and Philosophy of Science program. A noted Thoreau scholar, Professor Walls is a prolific author whose works include the forthcoming Henry David Thoreau: A Life (University of Chicago Press, 2017).  In her talk, “Our True Paradise”: Thoreau’s Concord and the Ecstasy of the Commons, Professor Walls asks, could recovering Thoreau’s ideal of the commons renew our own vision of natural, political and cultural possibility—of the “true paradise” possessed by all?

The evening also included music from the Thoreau family flute books held by Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House (featuring flutist Judith Sherry Braude), refreshments, and an opportunity to view the exhibit.

The accompanying lecture series continues in September and October with talks by Elizabeth Hall Witherell, Robert Thorson, Robert Gross, and Robert Hudspeth.

On September 16, Elizabeth Hall Witherell presented “I think I could write a poem to be called Concord”: Thoreau Expresses the Inexpressible.  Witherell is the editor-in-chief of the ongoing Thoreau Edition, published by Princeton University Press.

On September 23, Robert Thorson discussed The Boatman: Henry David Thoreau’s River Years, which is also the title of his new book.  Thorson is a Professor of Geology at the University of Connecticut, Storrs.

On Saturday, October 7, Robert A. Gross, Draper Professor of Early American History Emeritus, University of Connecticut presented “The Nick of Time”: Coming of Age in Thoreau’s Concord.

On Saturday, October 14, Robert N. Hudspeth, Research Professor at the Claremont Graduate University and Emeritus Professor of English, University of Redlands spoke about Thoreau’s Concord in His Correspondence.

The lectures were from 5:00-7:00 p.m. in the Main Library Rotunda. They were free and open to the public. 

Gallery Tours with Leslie Perrin Wilson were:

August 16, 10:00 a.m.

September 9, 10:00 a.m.

September 28, 7:00 p.m.

October 2, 3:00 p.m.




Picturing Emerson: A Selection of Lifetime Portraits of Ralph Waldo Emerson

In her 2006 article in Nineteenth-Century Prose, "The Tenant is More Than the House": Selected Emerson Portraits in the Concord Free Public Library, our Special Collections' Curator Leslie Perrin Wilson wrote: Although the basic work of identifying and describing images begs to be done, Emerson iconography is about a good deal more than creator, date, medium, and circumstances of portrait. Ten years later, that work has been done. The result is a forthcoming book, Picturing Emerson: An Iconography (Harvard, summer 2017), co-written by Wilson and Joel Myerson, and an accompanying exhibit, Picturing Emerson: A Selection of Lifetime Portraits of Ralph Waldo Emerson, to be on display at the Main Library's Art Gallery from March 7 to May 30, 2017.  [Read More About the Exhibit and Accompanying Events]

Gallery Tours with Leslie P. Wilson:

Saturday, April 29, 10:00 a.m. followed by a talk on portraiture with Meghan Murray at 11:00 a.m.

Wednesday, May 17, 7:00 p.m.