Thoreau's "Journey West"

     The 1861 trip that led Henry David Thoreau & Horace Mann, Jr., from Massachusetts to Minnesota

 

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Henry David Thoreau

Horace Mann, Jr.

Map of the Route

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   From May 11 to July 11, 1861, Henry David Thoreau and Horace Mann, Jr., traveled together through 10 U.S. states and one present-day Canadian province.  They used both railroads and steamboats to make a 3,000+-mile loop around the Northeast and the Midwest.  Thoreau kept a field notebook.  Young Horace wrote letters home.  Why did they venture west?  What did they see?  What did they do?  We can learn some of the answers by recreating their trip today.  

   With the information provided on this site, anyone can trace the path of Thoreau and Mann's "Journey West" today.

Click here to order the book "Westward I Go Free:  Tracing Thoreau's Last Journey."

Click here to listen to a podcast of a radio interview about the book and about Thoreau's train ride across northern Illinois.

Teacher Resources

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2014 Corinne H. Smith