Thoreau Holdings in the Special Collections
The Concord Free Public Library holds the largest and most important collection of primary Thoreau material in New England, and the major archive of materials documenting Concord as Thoreau knew it. The Library's Special Collections include Thoreau's "Walking" in manuscript, close to 200 manuscript land and property surveys by Thoreau, his volume of surveying field notes, and a series of more than 350 letters from early Thoreau scholar Samuel Arthur Jones to Alfred Winslow Hosmer of Concord. The Special Collections are strong in newspaper clippings, periodical articles, reprints and research papers—primarily items of a biographical or critical nature.
Among the many scholars whose works are found in Concord's collections are Raymond Adams, Henry Seidel Canby, Walter Harding, S.A. Jones, and Edwin Way Teale. The Library also has several of Thoreau's surveying instruments. Concord's collections include important examples of Thoreau iconography, such as the famous crayon portrait by Samuel Worcester Rowse, and photographic records of Thoreau's Concord, among them thousands of images by Alfred Winslow Hosmer and Herbert Wendell Gleason. The manuscript and pamphlet collections are continually expanding through gift and purchase.
The Library's Concord Authors Collection contains two extensive Thoreau collections, the H.D. Thoreau Collection and the Hosmer/Thoreau Collection (the former composed of various gifts and purchases, the latter assembled by Alfred Winslow Hosmer and presented to the Library in 1949 by Herbert Buttrick Hosmer). These collections include first and later editions of Thoreau's writings, collected editions, items to which Thoreau contributed pieces, and biographical, bibliographical, and critical works about him.
In addition, the H.D. Thoreau Collection includes more than forty books—most of them inscribed by their former owners, most presented to the Library by Sophia Thoreau—once belonging to Thoreau or to members of his family. Thoreau-related volumes in the Concord Authors Collection may be search through the database of the Minuteman Library Network.