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Henry David Thoreau

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Henry David Thoreau

Autograph manuscript journal entry dated Walden, 5 July 1845; from a collection of 39 journals


Purchased by Pierpont Morgan; 1909

MA 1302
Item description: 

Thoreau made this entry in his journal on 8 October 1852, recounting how a loon engaged him in a cat-and-mouse chase on Walden Pond. This dramatic passage made its way, somewhat refined but essentially intact, into his published memoir, Walden. Thoreau revised the original journal entry in pencil and drew a light vertical line through the passage to indicate that he had recycled it for Walden, presenting the episode as if it had taken place seven years earlier. Over the course of a quarter century, Thoreau filled dozens of notebooks with written observations and comments, creating a seminal work of self-documentation.