Thoreau's "Journey West:"  Resources

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


        The Men     |     The Journey West     |     The Route     |     Resources     |     Current Events

Henry David Thoreau

Horace Mann, Jr.

Map of the Route

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     Prior to the 2012 publication of Westward I Go Free: Tracing Thoreau's Last Journey, "The Journey West" was written about on occasion by a variety of scholars and enthusiasts.  Most often, their information was based upon one of the following secondary sources:

  • Sanborn, Franklin B.  First and Last Journeys of Thoreau, Lately Discovered Among His Unpublished  Journals and Manuscripts.  Volume Two.  Boston:  The Bibliophile Society, 1905.     [read it online]     [find it in a library]

  • Harding, Walter, ed.  Thoreauís Minnesota Journey: Two Documents:  Thoreauís Notes 
    on the Journey West and The Letters of Horace Mann, Jr.   Geneseo, N.Y.:  The 
    Thoreau Society (Thoreau Society Booklet No. Sixteen), 1962.  [find it in a library]
  • A typewritten transcription prepared by Mabel Densmore [Quarto 917.68 T39a], on file at the Owen H. Wangensteen Historical Library of Biology and Medicine at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

Henry Thoreau's original 100-page field notebook about "The Journey West" is owned by The Huntington Library in San Marino, California.

To see Corinne H. Smith's new annotated transcription of each page in Thoreau's field notebook, see "Teacher Resources" on this site.


  • Smith, Corinne Hosfeld.  "What a Difference a Year Can Make:  Henry David Thoreau and the Grand Pleasure Excursion of 1861."  Minnesota's Heritage #4, July 2011.  Copyright 2011, Minnesota's Heritage.     [read the article online]     [purchase a copy of the issue]

  • Smith, Corinne Hosfeld.  Westward I Go Free: Tracing Thoreau's Last Journey.  Green Frigate Books, 2012.  Buy it here.

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