Walter Harding Lecture

Walter Harding, who taught in SUNY Geneseo's English department from 1956 to 1982, was arguably the twentieth century’s most important scholar of Henry David Thoreau. Among his seven books on this great American writer, The Days of Henry Thoreau, first published in 1966, stands out as the definitive biography. Professor Harding edited or compiled 34 additional books, including works on other American transcendentalists such as Bronson Alcott and William Ellery Channing. At his retirement, he held the highest ranks awarded to a SUNY faculty member, Distinguished Professor and University Professor. He was the first SUNY faculty member to be awarded the degree of Honorary Doctor of Letters.

In 1941, Walter Harding helped to found the Thoreau Society, which houses the world’s largest collection of Thoreauviana.

After his death in 1996, the annual Walter Harding Lecture was established with the generous financial support of the Harding family.

The 2014 Harding Lecture was delivered by William Cronon, Frederick Jackson Turner and Vilas Research Professor of History, Geography, and Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Audio and/or video for many Harding lectures is available below.