This work, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, was Thoreau's first published book. By the time he left the pond on September 6, 1847, he had combined his lectures on life at Walden with more notes from his journal to produce the first draft of a book which he hoped to publish shortly after A Week.
At Walden, Thoreau worked diligently on A Week, but he also explored Walden Woods and recorded his observations on nature in his Journal. A Week was published in 1849, with a note at the back announcing the imminent publication of Walden; or, Life in the Woods.
Thoreau's life and work have continued to provoke and inspire, and there are almost as many different opinions as there are readers. (Walden, 90) He also went to the pond to work on a book that was to be a memorial tribute to his older brother John, who had died three years earlier of lockjaw.
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.
The cairn became a standard stop for pilgrims to Walden.
In the 1940s, the exact site of Thoreau's house was located and excavated by Roland Robbins, and simple granite posts were placed to indicate the outline of the structure.
The proper use of Walden Pond and Walden Woods has been the subject of debate for over a century. For several decades, the area has been open to the public for swimming and fishing.
Should it serve as a public park with full access for swimming, fishing, hunting, and camping? Those who have felt that the pond was threatened by overuse have been very vocal in Concord, and during the 1980s the number of users per day was limited by closing the parking area when a certain capacity was reached.
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.