Emerson Society


“I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and the new.”

—Emerson, “Friendship” (1841)


Recipients of the Distinguished Achievement Award and Barbara Packer Award




“What we are? and Whither we tend?”: The Emerson Society at 20Wesley T. MottWorcester Polytechnic Institute(Reprinted from Emerson Society Papers 23 [Spring 2011]: 1, 13-15.)

In 1841, Emerson stated that the “main interest which any aspects of the Times can have for us, is . . . the light which they can shed on the wonderful questions, What we are? and Whither we tend?” (CW l:182) The “main interest” of this paper is to assess What—as an Emerson Society—we are, and Whither—as a community of Emerson scholars—we tend. First, a backward glance at how the Emerson Society came to be and what we’ve accomplished in twenty years.