Faculty and Staff 2019

Project Director Jayne Gordon served in that role for the 2017 NEH Landmarks workshops on Thoreau, as well as for three Landmarks workshops on Lexington and Concord in 1775 when she was Director of Education and Public Programs for the Massachusetts Historical Society. A resident of Concord for nearly fifty years, she regularly teaches and lectures about aspects of the town’s history, drawing on her experience working with all of Concord’s historical organizations. Jayne was Executive Director of both the Thoreau Society and the Alcotts’ Orchard House, and Director of Education and Interpretation at the Concord Museum and the Walden Woods Project. She now lives in Damariscotta, Maine.

Project Coordinator Suzi Fonda is the Director of Education and Public Programs at the Concord Museum, where she works with a team of educators to plan and implement programs for schools, teachers, families, and the general public. Prior to her arrival at the Museum, she worked for 10 years at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where she managed all aspects of the museum’s programs for K-12 students and educators. She has also held positions in the education departments of Plimoth Plantation, the Albany Institute of History & Art, and the Noah Webster House. She holds a BA in history from Mount Holyoke College, an MA in history from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and an MA in museum studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program. In 2014 she was named the Massachusetts Art Education Association’s Museum Art Educator of the Year.


Scholars and Site Specialists (in order of appearance) reflect the interdisciplinary nature of this workshop: 

Kristi Martin is a doctoral candidate in American and New England Studies at Boston University, where she also earned her Museum Studies Certificate. Her dissertation will explore the origins and development of preservation and tourism in historic Concord. Kristi is a licensed Town Guide in Concord, as well as an historical interpreter at The Old Manse, Emerson House, the Wayside unit of Minute Man National Historical Park, Thoreau’s Birthplace, and the Alcotts’ Orchard House.

Dr. Laura Dassow Walls is the William P. and Hazel B. White Professor of English in the Graduate Program in History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Notre Dame. Laura is widely recognized as a leading scholar of Thoreau and American Transcendentalism. Her much-anticipated biography, Henry David Thoreau: A Life, for which she received both NEH and Guggenheim fellowships, was published in 2017. Her previous books include Seeing New Worlds: Henry David Thoreau and Nineteenth-Century Natural Science and The Oxford Handbook of Transcendentalism (co-editor).

David Wood, Curator of the Concord Museum, and co-curator of the 2017 exhibit ‘This Ever New Self’: Thoreau and his Journal, is a specialist in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American history and material culture, with a particular focus on the inhabitants of Concord. He is the author of numerous scholarly books and articles, including An Observant Eye: The Thoreau Collection at the Concord Museum, and the forthcoming article “Getting a Living,” an essay about Thoreau’s journal.

Dr. Robert Thorson, Professor of Geology at the University of Connecticut and a faculty affiliate in the American Studies Program. His 2014 book Walden’s Shore: Henry David Thoreau and Nineteenth-Century Science is a wonderful source for those interested in the creation story of Walden Pond, Thoreau’s expertise in physical science, and the link between these topics and his masterpiece Walden.  His 2017 book The Boatman: Henry David Thoreau’s River Years explores the last decade of his life and his understanding of changes taking place in his three rivers. His 2018 book The Guide to Walden Pond, is the first guide to this iconic place, published in collaboration with the Walden Woods Project.

Jeffrey Cramer is the Curator of Collections for the Thoreau Institute at Walden Woods, overseeing the most comprehensive collection of resources for the study of Henry Thoreau in the world. He is one of the leading experts on the text and context of Thoreau’s writings. Jeff is the editor of Walden: A Fully Annotated Edition, as well as The Portable Emerson, The Portable Thoreau, The Quotable Thoreau and annotated editions of Thoreau’s essays, Thoreau’s journals, and The Maine Woods. He regularly provides support to researchers on Thoreau and his contemporary relevance to human rights and environmental issues.

Dr. James Finley
 is Assistant Professor of English at Texas A&M University – San Antonio. He is editor of Henry David Thoreau in Context (Cambridge University Press, 2017). His scholarship has been supported by fellowships from the American Antiquarian Society and the Thoreau Society and has appeared in ESQ: A Journal of Nineteenth-Century American Literature and Culture, ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment, and elsewhere. Before attending graduate school, he taught high school English in Springfield, Vermont.

Dr. Robert Gross is the Draper Professor of Early American History, Emeritus at the University of Connecticut. His book on the American Revolution, The Minutemen and Their World, won the Bancroft Prize in American History. Dr. Gross has researched and written extensively about nineteenth century Concord, with articles on many aspects of Thoreau’s relationship with his town. He is completing for publication The Transcendentalists and Their World, a social and cultural history of Emerson and Thoreau and the Concord community in which they lived and wrote.

Dr. Sandra Harbert Petrulionis is Distinguished Professor of English and American Studies at Pennsylvania State University, Altoona. She is the author of To Set This World Right: The Antislavery Movement in Thoreau’s Concord, the editor of Thoreau In His Own Time; and with Laura Dassow Walls, the co-editor of More Day to Dawn: Thoreau’s Walden for the Twenty-First Century. Sandy is also the co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Transcendentalism. She has also directed two-week NEH summer institutes in Concord on Transcendentalism and Reform in the Age of Emerson, Thoreau, and Fuller for college teachers.

The other site specialists include staff members of the following organizations: the Old Manse, the Robbins House, Minute Man National Historical Park, Walden Pond State Reservation, the Ralph Waldo Emerson House, and Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House, as well as the Thoreau Society and Thoreau Farm  (Birthplace). 



Week one:
Johanna Glazer, a Concord resident, taught for many years at Concord-Carlisle Regional High School before joining the faculty of the Rivers and Revolutions program, an experiential program for students of all academic abilities at the school. The program uses the community and landscapes of Concord to explore interdisciplinary topics through the lenses of literature, math, science, and history. Henry Thoreau is a key focus of this program, both because of his ideas and his approach to education. Johanna will share methods she has used successfully with students indoors and outdoors.

Week two: 

Jim Rittenhouse
 has taught social studies at all grade levels in Colorado, in both rural and urban school districts. His interest in the Concord authors was sparked by his participation, back in the 1990’s, in a five-week regional seminar funded by NEH for Colorado teachers on the New England Renaissance, in Colorado and various Massachusetts locations, including Concord. He returned to Concord in 2015 as a participant in the NEH Crossroads of Revolution workshop.