Welcome To The

Ralph Waldo Emerson Society

Founded 29 December 1989



The Ralph Waldo Emerson Society, Inc. is dedicated to fostering scholarship on and appreciation of the life and writings of one of America’s greatest authors. The Society, which has about 200 members in eleven countries, publishes the biannual Emerson Society Papers (ESP), featuring original scholarly articles, current book reviews, notes and queries, an annual Emerson bibliography, abstracts of conference papers, reflections on “My Emerson,” and announcements of interest to Emersonians. Since 1990, the Emerson Society annually has presented panels in May at the American Literature Association conference and in July at the Thoreau Society’s Annual Gathering in Concord, Massachusetts. We also maintain an informative web site with a rich and growing archive of Emersonia and conduct annual award competitions for subventions, research support, community programs, and graduate student presentations. Among our most recent ventures are the Barbara L. Packer Fellowship for the study of Emerson and his circle, administered with our partners at the American Antiquarian Society, and two international meetings in Oxford, England (2006) and in Florence, Italy (2012).


Our society has about 200 members in eleven countries, a prominent newsletter, and an active presence at significant scholarly and cultural events. In 2003, we conducted a year-long bicentennial celebration of Emerson’s birth. In July 2006, in collaboration with the Hawthorne and Poe societies, we organized an international conference at Oxford University. Annually we present two panels at the American Literature Association conference and a special session in Concord, Mass., in July—all furthering appreciation of the life and works of a major American writer of perennial value.

Your membership helps the Society to conduct its varied functions and brings you the semiannual Emerson Society Papers, with news of Emerson scholarship and activities of the Society.  Remember, membership is on a calendar-year basis.


The American Literature Association virtual panel held July 8-10th, 2021. Part One discussion topic is “Emerson and Health.” Part two and other discussions can be found here.

Officers & Advisory Board Members

Meet the Officers and Board Members that serve to keep the life and writings of Emerson relevant to our modern world. 

Michael is a faculty librarian for the Irvin Dpt. of Rare Books and Special Collections at the University of South Carolina. His pieces appear in the New England Quarterly and the Rhetoric Society Quarterly, and a contribution to an edited collection on Thoreau. He is the editor for the Emerson Society Papers.

Michael Weisenburg, President


University of South Carolina

Nicholas Guardiano specializes in American transcendentalism and pragmatism (esp. Ralph Waldo Emerson and Charles Peirce), metaphysics, aesthetics, philosophy of nature, semiotics, and nineteenth-century American art. He teaches broadly in the history of philosophy, and he oversees the philosophy collections at the Special Collections Research Center.

Nick Guardiano, President-Elect


Southern Illinois University

Peter is Associate Professor of English at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. His most recent publication explores the Key West poetry of Wallace Stevens and Elizabeth Bishop in light of post-Romantic and environmental pressures of the Anthropocene..

Peter Balaam, Secretary- Treasurer


Carleton College


Prentiss is an Associate Professor of English at the University of South Dakota. She is author of Ralph Waldo Emerson: A Companion (McFarland 2022), “‘The arch abolitionist’: Emerson, Love, and Social Justice”, and “‘Allied to all’: Emerson and Ethics Beyond Self-Reliance”. She is currently working on a monograph titled Measures of Intimacy: Emerson to Du Bois to Baldwin.

Prentiss Clark, Past President


University of South Dakota

The Home of Ralph Waldo Emerson

Concord 27 July 1835
Dear William

Has Charles told you that I have dodged the doom of building & have bought the Coolidge house in Concord with the expectation of entering it next September. It is a mean place & cannot be fine until trees & flowers give it a character of its own. But we shall crowd so many books & papers & if possible, wise friends, into it that it shall have as much wit as it can carry.

Waldo E

Emerson’s home is located in Concord, MA and is open for visitors. More information can be found here.