Henry David Thoreau

1817-1863, born Concord, Massachusetts
Photographer Benjamin D. Maxham (active 1848-58), Ninth-plate daguerrotype, 1856

Thoreaus's words have long been a comfort to me and a guidepost, since I first encountered them in a school hallway back when I was in junior high, circa 1972:

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.

So naturally when I saw this man's small photograph at the National Portrait Gallery, I took a photo of it. The accompanying info says:

"Described by a contempory as 'the apostle of individuality in an age of associaiton and compromise," author Henry David Thoreau followed his own moral compass and lived a life largely unfettered by convention. In such works as Walden and 'Civil Disobedience', Thoreau encouraged readers to question popular wisdom and to seek universal truths from simple facts. When an admirer wrote from Michigan in 1856 asking for Thoreau's daguerrotype and enclosing money to defray its cost, the author reluctantly obliged. A visit to Maxham's Daguerrean Palace yielded this 50-cent portrait, which Thoreau dutifully sent to the requestor along with $1.70 in change.

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