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He spent his life in voluntary poverty enthralled by the study of nature Two years in the prime of his life were spent living in a shack in the woods near a pond Who would choose a life like this Henry David Thoreau did and he enjoyed it Who was Henry David Thoreau what did he do and what did others think of his work Henry David Thoreau was born in Concord Massachusetts on July 12 1817 Thoreau 96 on his grandmothers farm Thoreau who was of French-Huguenot and Scottish-Quaker ancestry was baptized as David Henry Thoreau but at the age of twenty he legally changed his name to Henry David Thoreau was raised with his older sister Helen older brother John and younger sister Sophia Derleth 1 in genteel poverty The 1995 Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia 1 It quickly became evident that Thoreau was interested in literature and writing At a young age he began to show interest writing and he wrote his first essay The Seasons at the tender age of ten while attending Concord Academy Derleth 4 In 1833 at the age of sixteen Henry David was accepted to Harvard University but his parents could not afford the cost of tuition so his sister Helen who had begun to teach and his aunts offered to help With the assistance of his family and the beneficiary funds of Harvard he went to Cambridge in August 1833 and entered Harvard on September first He Thoreau stood close to the top of his class but he went his own way too much to reach the top 5 In December 1835 Thoreau decided to leave Harvard and attempt to earn a living by teaching but that only lasted about a month and a half 8 He returned to college in the fall of 1836 and graduated on August 16 1837 12 Thoreaus years at Harvard University gave him one great gift an introduction to the world of
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