Concord Transcendentalists and the Legacy of John Brown


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) Autograph letter, signed, to William Emerson, 23 October 1859.

In this letter to his brother, written just five days after Brown's capture, Emerson privately expresses his ambivalence about Brown's actions, writing, "He [Brown] is a true hero, but lost his head there." However, these private reservations are absent from Emerson's later, public rhetoric, in which he offers unqualified support for Brown.

MS Am 1280H – Gift of The Ralph Waldo Emerson Memorial Association, 1991.