The Thoreau-Harding Project

The Thoreau Harding Project

"It would be better… for the students to lay the foundation themselves."

- Henry David Thoreau

Our Mission

The Thoreau-Harding Project, an ongoing English Department course class at SUNY Geneseo, is constructing a cabin in the spirit of Henry David Thoreau and in tribute to the life work of Professor Walter Harding, Thoreau scholar and beloved SUNY Geneseo educator. The Thoreau-Harding Project will devote our hands, minds, and philosophical gumption to learning deliberately. Our cabin will provide an unconventional experience to supplement the reading of an important American author. This educational approach, learning to build by building deliberately, made sense to Thoreau. Our class aims to take his advice to our own natural conclusion.

Word Press

Distinguished Donors and Participants

Contributing Scholars
(Project Participants)

Thoreau-Harding Project 1.0

Thoreau-Harding Project 2.0

Thoreau-Harding Project 3.0

Instructor: Dr. Ed Gillin

Instructor: Dr. Ed Gillin

Instructor: Dr. Ed Gillin

Baker, Sadie
Caputi, Brendan
Cedfeldt, Claudia
Croston, Eric
Davis, Stephanie
Dennehy, Shannon
Felice, Candice
Hill, Matthew
Kelsey, Meaghan
Lopuzzo, Brendan
McPhillips, Caitlin
O’Brien, Emmett
Oviedo, Antonia
Profeta, Sally
Stoianoff, Michael
Wang, Emma
Wegman, Eric
Weiss, Staci

Agrawal, Christy
Bodenweber, Zachary
Coulter, Deven
Davis, Stephanie
Diberardo, Julia
Ford, Ryan
Greenman, Emma
Groeger, Erica
Heinrich, August
Hess, William
Jackowicz, Emily
Krauland, Pierce
LePore, Daniel
Ludwig, Anna
McNiffe, Madison
Profeta, Sally
Solano, Taylor
Spanagel, Ivan
Wrynn, Emily

TA: Davis, Stephanie


Anderson, Eve
Converse, Marcus
Ferris, Michael
Fredericks, Lucas
Freiman, Kirsten
McCarthy, Thomas
Minerley, Kyle
Nicholson, Ethan
Sayed, Madelyn
Van Son, Elizabeth
Wall, Neil                                             
Zomback, Jenna

Henry David Thoreau's Biography

Born on July 12, 1817, in Concord, Massachusetts, Henry David Thoreau carved a name for himself as a leading transcendentalist, philosopher, naturalist, and writer in 19th century America. Under the guidance of his mentor, friend, and fellow transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson, Thoreau began keeping a meticulous journal at the age of 20 to record his musings, poems, and other observations. This journal, though laying the groundwork for his most famous publications such as Walden and Civil Disobedience, has often been regarded as a literary treasure in itself, amounting to 14 volumes worth of material.

Although Thoreau's writings have continued to marvel scientists, literary critics, and the average reader alike, this was a man of simple taste and pleasure: a man who had a knack for getting lost in the woods, enjoyed perusing the morning newspaper in the wake of the rising sun, shared an affinity with all living things, enjoyed working with his hands as much as his mind, and felt just as much at home among the trees, ponds, and wildlife as among the streets of Concord.

Thoreau contracted bronchitis in 1859, and though he fell terminally ill to the disease and died at the age of 44 on May 6, 1862, his legacy continues to inspire environmentalists, politicians, writers, and other readers to reconsider the role of the individual in both society and the natural world.

Walter Harding's Biography

Walter Harding, born in 1917 in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, was a Distinguished Professor in English at SUNY Geneseo who specialized in the study of the life and work of Henry David Thoreau. His works include twenty-five books and articles on Thoreau and who he associated with. At Geneseo, Harding was the chair of the English Department for six years and was awarded some of SUNY’s highest honors. He later became the first SUNY faculty member to be granted an honorary doctorate from SUNY itself.