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Collections | Literary & Historical Manuscripts

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Thoreau image

Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)
Autograph manuscript journal entry dated Walden, 5 July 1845; from a collection of 39 journals, 1837-1861
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan; 1909; MA 1302
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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.

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The programs of The Morgan Library & Museum are made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.