Recent discovery of Thoreau’s notes sheds light on tragic drowning of Margaret Fuller

thoreau discovery
Photograph by Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer

The Houghton Library at Harvard University has acquired the complete set of notes made by Henry David Thoreau as he visited the site of Margaret Fuller’s drowning along with her husband and little son aboard the steamship Elizabeth.


Here is a teaser from the article, published in the Harvard Gazette:

A recent Houghton Library acquisition is shedding new light on the tragic drowning of Margaret Fuller and on what Henry David Thoreau found as he investigated the death on behalf of Ralph Waldo Emerson. “Here’s Thoreau, he is being sent by Emerson, also a very important figure to our collections, to investigate the death of Margaret Fuller. And the Fuller papers are here,” said Leslie Morris (photo 2), the curator of modern books and manuscripts, who helped acquire the manuscript. “It really plays to three of our major figures here at the library. It brings them together … and it’s something that’s been completely unknown to scholarship.”

Here is the transcription of Thoreau’s notes.

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