Mapping Thoreau Country

About Us

Mapping Thoreau Country (MTC) uses historical maps to organize and interpret images, documents, and information related to Henry David Thoreau's travels throughout the United States.

MTC takes advantage of digital technologies to achieve a variety of goals:

  • To provide college students, educators, and other adult learners with access to an array of multimedia materials to facilitate the study of Thoreau's writings.
  • To bring together digital resources from a wide range of public and private educational and cultural institutions to place Thoreau's works within their historical context.
  • To draw on the expertise of leading scholars to promote wider understanding of Thoreau's contributions to American intellectual history.
  • To utilize the web as an ideal medium for the presentation of visually appealing images and networked historical documents.
  • To highlight local, regional, and national libraries, museums, historical societies, universities, environmental groups, and cultural non-profits engaged in Thoreau-related projects and programs.
  • To challenge conventional views of Thoreau by integrating both well-known and newly discovered documentary materials directly into the presentation of historical research.

Visit the Thoreau Society

MTC Massachusetts

Thanks to seed grants from UMass Lowell and Mass Humanities, which we won in partnership with the Thoreau Society, we completed the final version of Mapping Thoreau Country: Tracking Henry David Thoreau's Travels in Massachusetts in 2013. MTC Massachusetts is the first phase of a long-term project on Thoreau, cartography, and travel that emphasizes the continuing relevance of Thoreau's historical legacy in present-day American culture, politics, and society.

Although we will add new materials and updates as needed to our Massachusetts map, we plan to turn as soon as possible to producing similar maps of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York/New Jersey, and Minnesota. Like the Massachusetts map, these will be linked to newly discovered documents on Thoreau's adventures in cartography, his participation in the abolitionist movement, and other materials that have lately been brought to light by the ongoing digitization of library collections and historical archives throughout the United States.

Since we aim to complete all of the maps well ahead of the bicentennial of Thoreau's birth in 2017, we are currently pursuing funding that will enable us to bring in additional personnel to carry out research, expand our technogical infrastructure, and stage a traveling exhibit in partnership with public libraries, educational institutions, and cultural non-profits in some of the many locations across the country that played a major role in Thoreau's life and work.

As you will see from the pages that we have posted, we are eager to connect with schools, libraries, museums, cultural non-profits, and other educational organizations that engage in Thoreau-related programming. If you have questions, comments, suggestions, and/or primary documents in the public domain that you think we should add to MTC, please contact us.

Site author/editor/producer: Susan E. Gallagher, Associate Professor, UMass Lowell

Advisory Board

Note: Clicking on images and hyperlinks throughout this site will bring you to source collections at museums, libraries, historical associations, schools, parks, cultural non-profits and other educational organizations and institutions.  Hyperlinked quotes from primary texts are linked to source pages on the Internet ArchiveGoogle BooksHathi Trust, and the Library of Congress, as well as other libraries of digital materials in the public domain.