The Susan Jaffe Tane Collection of Ralph Waldo Emerson & Henry David Thoreau
September 27 – December 23, 2022
The Athenæum recently received the most significant addition to its Special Collections in over a century. This extraordinary gift, from the world-renowned Susan Jaffe Tane Collection of 19th-Century American Authors, contains books, essays, poetry, and letters by Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) and Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) stand as majestic pillars of the transcendentalist movement of the mid-nineteenth century.
Highlights of this extraordinary collection include:
- a first edition of Thoreau’s Walden (1854)
- a first edition of Emerson’s Essays (1841) owned by Providence poet Sarah Helen Whitman
- an inscription by Emerson to Thoreau in Thomas Carlyle’s The French Revolution (1838)
- autographed manuscripts of Thoreau’s poem “Inspiration” (1841) & essay “Ktaadn” (1840s)
- letters by Emerson to Oliver Wendell Holmes, Frank Sanborn, & James Munroe
View a collection guide PDF here.
August 4 – September 10, 2022
It may not come as a surprise that an ivy-covered library, built to look like a Greek temple and home to thousands of books, has long been a source of inspiration to writers, especially to those who dabble in macabre, supernatural, and “weird” fiction. This exhibition displays rarely seen works related to Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, and their legacies, including one of the Athenæum’s most beloved items: Poe’s signature in a library book.