This Ever New Self: Thoreau and His Journal at The Morgan Library & Museum, June 2 – September 10, 2017

“Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862) occupies a lofty place in American cultural history. He spent two years in a cabin by Walden Pond and a single night in jail, and out of those experiences grew two of this country’s most influential works: his book Walden  and the essay known as “Civil Disobedience.” But his lifelong journal—more voluminous by far than his published writings—reveals a fuller, more intimate picture of a man of wide-ranging interests and a profound commitment to living responsibly and passionately.

This Ever New Self: Thoreau and His Journal brings together nearly one hundred items in the most comprehensive exhibition ever devoted to the author. Marking the 200th anniversary of his birth and organized in partnership with the Concord Museum in Thoreau’s hometown of Concord, Massachusetts, the show centers on the journal he kept throughout his life and its importance in understanding the essential Thoreau. More than twenty of Thoreau’s journal notebooks are shown along with letters and manuscripts, books from his library, pressed plants from his herbarium, and important personal artifacts. Also featured are the only two photographs for which he sat during his lifetime, shown together for the first time.” — The Morgan Library & Museum

Installation view. Photograph by Corrado Serra for Arts Summary.

Henry D. Thoreau’s desk. Eastern white pine, painted green, Concord, Massachusetts, ca. 1838. Concord Museum; gift of Cummings E. Davis, 1886; Th10. Image courtesy The Morgan Library.

Installation view. Photograph by Corrado Serra for Arts Summary.

Henry D. Thoreau’s earliest surviving journal notebook, open to entries from November 1837. The Morgan Library & Museum; purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1909. Image courtesy The Morgan Library.

Installation view. Photograph by Corrado Serra for Arts Summary.

Benjamin D. Maxham (1821–1889), Henry D. Thoreau, Daguerreotype, Worcester, Massachusetts, June 18, 1856. Berg Collection, New York Public Library. Image courtesy The Morgan Library.

One of Henry D. Thoreau’s goose quill pens, with a note from his sister Sophia (“The pen brother Henry last wrote with”). Concord Museum; gift of Cummings E. Davis, 1886; Th10.13a. Image courtesy The Morgan Library.

Installation view. Photograph by Corrado Serra for Arts Summary.

Installation view. Photograph by Corrado Serra for Arts Summary.

Henry Francis Walling (1825–1888), Map of the Town of Concord, Hand-colored lithograph, Boston, 1852. Concord Museum; gift of the Cummings Davis Society (Decorative Arts Fund), 1988; Pi2139a. Image courtesy The Morgan Library.

Installation view. Photograph by Corrado Serra for Arts Summary.

William James Hubard (1807–1862), Henry D. Thoreau, Cut paper silhouette portrait, Cambridge, 1837. The Neil and Anna Rasmussen Collection. Image courtesy The Morgan Library.

Installation view. Photograph by Corrado Serra for Arts Summary.

Installation view. Photograph by Corrado Serra for Arts Summary.

Alexander Jackson Davis (1803–1892), Harvard University, Hand-colored lithograph, Lithographed by William S. and John B. Pendleton; published in Cambridge by Hilliard & Brown, 1828. The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, New York Public Library. Image courtesy The Morgan Library.

Henry D. Thoreau’s earliest surviving journal notebook, open to entries from November 1837. The Morgan Library & Museum; purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1909. Image courtesy The Morgan Library.

Henry D. Thoreau’s t-square, protractor, and compass, 19th century. Concord Museum; gift of Cummings E. Davis or George Tolman, before 1909; Th12, Th12c, Th13. Image courtesy The Morgan Library.

One of Henry D. Thoreau’s research notebooks on North American indigenous cultures, ca. 1847–61. The Morgan Library & Museum; purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1909. Image courtesy The Morgan Library.

Installation view. Photograph by Corrado Serra for Arts Summary.

Henry D. Thoreau’s copy of Bhagavad-Gítá; or The Sacred Lay: A Colloquy between Krishna and Arjuna on Divine Matters, ed. by J. Cockburn Thomson. Hertford: Stephen Austin, 1855. Concord Museum; gift of E.H. Kittredge, 1942; Th6B. Image courtesy The Morgan Library.

Steel lock and key from the cell where Henry D. Thoreau spent a night in jail for tax resistance in 1846. Concord Museum; gift of Cummings E. Davis, 1886; M2081. Image courtesy The Morgan Library.

Installation view. Photograph by Corrado Serra for Arts Summary.

Henry D. Thoreau (1817–1862), First edition of Walden; or, Life in the Woods, Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1854. The Morgan Library & Museum; bequest of Gordon N. Ray, 1987. Image courtesy The Morgan Library.

Henry D. Thoreau (1817–1862), Walden, Manuscript draft of the opening page, ca. 1852–54. The Morgan Library & Museum; gift of Norman H. Strouse, 1966. Image courtesy The Morgan Library.

Henry D.Thoreau’s journal notebook for November 9, 1858–April 7, 1859 (open to the entry for November 11, 1858). The Morgan Library & Museum; purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1909. Image courtesy The Morgan Library.

Edward Sidney Dunshee (1823–1907), Henry D. Thoreau, Ambrotype, New Bedford, Massachusetts, August 21, 1861. Concord Museum; gift of Mr. Walton Ricketson and Miss Anna Ricketson, 1929; Th33b. Image courtesy The Morgan Library.

Henry D. Thoreau’s final journal entry, dated November 3, 1861. The Morgan Library & Museum; purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1909. Image courtesy The Morgan Library.

Walking stick made by Henry D. Thoreau about 1853, Unidentified hardwood, possibly birch. Concord Museum; gift of Lee, Olive, and Earnest Russell, 1917; Th34. Image courtesy The Morgan Library.