Skip to main content

Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau
Artist
Benjamin Dexter Maxham, 10 Oct 1821 - 09 Jul 1899
Sitter
Henry David Thoreau, 12 Jul 1817 - 6 May 1862
Date
1856
Type
Photograph
Medium
Ninth-plate daguerreotype
Dimensions
Image: 6.3 x 4.7 cm (2 1/2 x 1 7/8")
Case Open: 7.6 × 12.7 × 0.8 cm (3 × 5 × 5/16")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of anonymous donor
Restrictions & Rights
CC0
Object number
NPG.72.119
Exhibition Label
Born Concord, Massachusetts
Described by a contemporary as “the apostle of individuality in an age of association and compromise,” author Henry David Thoreau followed his own moral compass and lived a life largely unfettered by convention. In such works as Walden (1854) and “Civil Disobedience” (1849), Thoreau encouraged readers to question popular wisdom and to seek universal truths from simple facts. When an admirer wrote from Michigan in 1856 asking for Thoreau’s daguerreotype and enclosing money to defray its cost, the author reluctantly obliged. A visit to Maxham’s Daguerrean Palace yielded this 50-cent portrait, which Thoreau dutifully sent to the requestor along with $1.70 in change.
Nacido en Concord, Massachusetts
Descrito por un contemporáneo como “el apóstol del individualismo en una era de asociaciones y consensos”, el escritor Henry David Thoreau vivió guiado por su propia ética y libre de ataduras convencionales. En obras como Walden (1854) y “Desobediencia civil” (1849), Thoreau exhortó a sus lectores a cuestionar la llamada sabiduría popular y buscar las verdades universales a partir de los hechos. Cuando un admirador de Michigan le escribió en 1856 para pedirle un daguerrotipo, incluyendo en su misiva el dinero para sufragarlo, el autor no pudo más que acceder. Su visita al Daguerrean Palace de Benjamin Maxham produjo ese retrato de 50 centavos, que Thoreau envió al solicitante junto con el sobrante de $1.70.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection