Roland Wells Robbins' fascinating story of his discovery of Thoreau's Walden Pond hut site, complete with photographs of his findings.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:Tom Slayton, editor-in-chief of Vermont Life Magazine from 1986-2007, and a long-time commentator for Vermont Public Radio, has published books on various subjects related to travel, art, and literature, including Sabra Field, the Art of Place. He recently was granted an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the University of Vermont, and has also received an honorary doctorate from Southern Vermont College and the Franklin Fairbanks Award for outstanding service to Vermont and its people. He has spent more than 30 years studying the works of Henry David Thoreau and traveling to places associated with him. He has given public presentations and published several articles on those travels. Mr. Slayton is a member of the Green Mountain Club, the Appalachian Mountain Club and the 4,000-footers Club of the AMC. He lives in Montpelier, Vermont with his wife, Elizabeth.
From Arcadia Publishing's Images of America series, Thoreau's Walden presents the history and beauty of Walden Pond through Henry David Thoreau's writings and Tim Smith's historical research and photography.
In The Man Who Found Thoreau Donald Linebaugh presents a succinct, articulate examination of the work of the pioneering but controversial archaeologist Roland Wells Robbins (1908–1987) and the development of historical archaeology in America. In 1945 the self-taught Robbins discovered the remains of Thoreau’s cabin at Walden Pond. He excavated the site, documented his findings, and in 1947 published a short book, Discovery at Walden, about the experience. This project launched Robbins’s career in archaeology, restoration, and reconstruction, and he went on to excavate at a number of New England iron works and other sites, including the Philipsburg Manor Upper Mills in New York, Stawbery Banke in New Hampshire, and Shadwell, Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia birthplace. Although lacking academic training, Robbins quickly developed remarkably sophisticated techniques for the period. However, his “pick and shovel” methods were considered suspect and increasingly frowned upon by the emerging American historical archaeological establishment. As the profession evolved, trained American historical archaeologists, according to Donald Linebaugh, too scrupulously wrote Robbins out of the history of their emerging field. With the help of previously unpublished information, the author offers a balanced assessment of Robbins and his place in New England regional history and the history of American historical archaeology. The Man Who Found Thoreau is a must-read for scholars, students, and historical archaeology buffs alike. This book was reviewed in Thoreau Society Bulletin 257, Winter 2007, p. 8.