Academic journal article The Southern Review

Ralph Waldo Emerson's Gloves

Academic journal article The Southern Review

Ralph Waldo Emerson's Gloves

Article excerpt

In the dining room of Ralph Waldo Emerson's house at Concord (where the books are kept not on bookshelves but in cases fitted out with a handle at each end so that they could be quickly rescued in case of a fire), one chair is different from all the others: it has been augmented with a small drawer made from the same wood and fitted under the seat. This chair was, the guide tells us, that of the master of the house. The credit for this innovative carpentry goes to Henry David Thoreau, who, for two years and two months, occupied the famous cabin in the neighboring woods, a cabin that he had built with his own hands from various recycled materials. It's still there--or rather, it has been reconstructed so that it can be visited on the banks of Walden Pond.

The story goes that Emerson, who didn't particularly like the preacher, always managed to arrive very late to church. And each week, he gave the same excuse: that he had had to search (and in vain) for his Sunday gloves. So Thoreau set about meticulously making this little drawer under the seat of the master's chair so that he would have a specific place to put these gloves and would, therefore, always know where to find them.

In his 1842 journal, Thoreau observed that Emerson's talents were without equal, and that the divine in man had never been so readily, precisely, and gracefully expressed. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.