Which view of Thoreau is most accurate: The dour hermit of Walden Woods? The narrative frame of the story is provided by a boat trip the brothers had taken in 1839, but there are many philosophical digressions. He began collecting material to write lectures for his curious townsmen, and he delivered two at the Concord Lyceum, on February 10 and 17, 1847.
In the 1890s a group of admirers who had not known Thoreau personally but who had been affected by his writings began actively to promote him.
One of the first substantial biographies of Thoreau, The Life of Henry David Thoreau, was published by an Englishman, Henry Salt, in 1890.
In July 1941, the Thoreau Society of America was founded at a meeting in Concord.
Still active today, the Thoreau Society's purpose is "to honor Henry David Thoreau, by stimulating interest in and fostering education about his life, works, and philosophy and his place in his world and ours, by coordinating research on his life and writings, and by acting as a repository for Thoreauviana and material relevant to Henry David Thoreau, and by advocating for the preservation of Thoreau Country." Thoreau's popularity continued: six editions of Walden were published in 1948, eleven in 1958, and twenty-three in 1968, along with many editions of his other works.