A Greek and English Lexicon...Other Greek Classics - Henry David Thoreau's Copy!

A Greek and English Lexicon; adapted to the Authors Read in the Colleges and Schools of the United States, and to Other Greek Classics

John Pickering

Boston, 1829


Second edition. Remboitage in contemporary leather binding of the same book. Concord Library stamp to title page, fore-edge a bit chipped. Pages quite clean, Very Good. HDT’s ownership signature and annotations in bold ink.


The signature is an early one, sometime around 22 years of age. Thoreau had studied Greek and the Classics at Harvard, graduating in 1837 and began translating Aeschylus in his journal circa 1839 - his translation of Prometheus Bound would appear in the third installment of The Dial in 1843. This is a young Thoreau still developing as a person and an intellectual. He obviously used this book heavily, as it contains lengthy annotations on 16 pages - his additions of Greek words with definitions. 


This book was gifted in 1874 by his devoted sister, Sophia, to the Concord Library and later de-accessioned by the library in 1906 and purchased by the celebrated collector Stephen H. Wakeman. It doesn't need any trinkets of imaginative dressing from me, but to go full bore, it's more than conceivable that he brought this along to Walden Pond along with other pieces from his library. Wakeman was amongst the greatest collectors of all time in a golden era of bad and boujee collectors who continuously one-upped each other by gobbling up the choicest pieces. He was the OG Thoreau collector, amassing the largest, most comprehensive assortment of HDT items - even furniture made and used by Thoreau.  


It’s now over 200 years since the icon's birth, and his place in the literary firmament is fully established. What is pertinent to convey is that pieces like this will continue to be more impossible to procure the longer time expands the void between us and him. You can often pick up nice copies of HDT's books, even fragments of his manuscript leaves – though they often lack significance. This piece does have lofty significance(a book heavily used by an American legend to shape his mind) and now is your shooting star-esque window of time to own a museum piece.

A Greek and English Lexicon...Other Greek Classics - Henry David Thoreau's Copy!