Thoreau the writer. Thoreau the philosopher. Thoreau the naturalist. Thoreau the citizen.
The myriad of Henry David Thoreau’s titles demonstrates the fusion of interests that propelled his path toward becoming one of the key naturalist figures in history. Classic works like Walden and Civil Disobedience brought Thoreau literary renown as he proclaimed the philosophies of Transcendentalism and environmentalism. As a naturalist, his records of field specimens amassed in journals both while living at Walden Pond and long after. Though praised for his place in the American literary canon, he also made significant contributions to the scientific community. His field notes and data are now helping scientists learn more about species’ resilience, the effects of climate change, and the historical landscape of New England.