Concord Sage on display at NELA


Concord Sage was on display at this New England Library Association event held on October 2015 in Manchester, New Hampshire.

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Winston Churchill Quoted Emerson

When criticized for changing parties, Winston Churchill wrote an essay, Consistency in Politics. In it he quoted Ralph Waldo Emerson.

“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds…Speak what you think now in hard words and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict everything you said today.” R. W. Emerson, Self-Reliance, 1841

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Author is DAR Member

Donna A. Ford, the author of Concord Sage, recently became a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution based on service of two of her Corliss relatives in that war.


Ralph Waldo Emerson’s grandparents and father watched as the first shots of the Revolutionary War were fired at the Concord bridge beside their Church Manse home. Ralph Waldo Emerson’s grandfather never returned home, dying of a fever in 1776 due to service as an Army Chaplain in the VT/NY area.

Read more about Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Life and Times in Concord Sage.



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Concord Sage Book Launch Party

Click here to view Concord Sage at the SCBWI book launch party for Fall 2015. The author is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

Or follow this link:


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Lydia’s Visions – Miracle of the Call

At the end of 1834 Waldo Emerson spoke in Plymouth. Massachusetts. Lydia Jackson attended the lecture with her sister, Lucy Cotton. Waldo noticed the dark-haired Lydia who dressed with no frills, choosing blues and grays. They were introduced at a tea served afterwards.

Two things happened next. Waldo returned to Concord with agreeable recollections of Lydia. The fact that she and Waldo’s mother were both religious and had the same Pilgrim background may have had a little to do with this.

And Lydia strangely had a vision. She saw herself and Waldo coming down the “flying” staircase of her Plymouth home about to be married. She dismissed the incident. In January 1835, Lydia had another vision. This time Waldo’s face appeared near hers—shortly before she received a letter from him. His letter asked her to consider marriage.

These two visions surely convinced Lydia to at least consider this as a possible call for her future life. She wrote back asking that Waldo return to Plymouth to discuss her concerns. When he did, they agreed to marry as soon as Waldo could purchase a home in Concord.

In September 1835, the marriage took place. Waldo had stayed in Concord to give a speech about Concord history. His late arrival in Plymouth delayed Lydia from going upstairs to dress. Waldo climbed the stairs to meet her. They came down together for their marriage exactly as in Lydia’s strange vision.

For more miracle stories visit the author’s blog:

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History per R. W. Emerson

“The student is to read history actively and not passively…”

“The true poet is the poet’s mind; the true ship is the ship-builder.”

Self Reliance / History

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Concord author explores Ralph Waldo Emerson’s relevance in new book

Concord author explores Ralph Waldo Emerson’s relevance in new book.

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Welcome to site for Concord Sage Ralph Waldo Emerson Life and Times

His name is well-known, but who really was the man, Ralph Waldo Emerson? What made him famous—a celebrity in his own town, country, and beyond? And why is Emerson still quoted today?

If you considered Emerson stodgy, you will be be surprised that this biography is meant to share with children, 5th grade and up. Afterwards, stroll leisurely through the site’s many blog posts which provide additional insight into Emerson’s life and relationships.

Enjoy this 70-page book, Concord Sage, available in print or ebook at Inspiring Voices and Amazon:

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First Trip to Europe Part 2 – R.W. Emerson at 30 years old

July 1833 in London, Waldo Emerson attended a church service at Westminster Abbey. He visited a museum and zoo. He witnessed the funeral of Samuel Wilberforce, third son of slavery reformer, William Wilberforce.

Pursuing his goal to meet living authors, Waldo called on Samuel Taylor Coleridge at Highgate. Coleridge is best known for his long poems including “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” Coleridge derided the Unitarian church. Waldo changed the subject to literature, but the older writer seemed too set in his ways to think with a new companion. Waldo declared the city of London immense and very dull.

Leaving London on August 9, Waldo visited Oxford, then Birmingham. He seemed to be in a hurry. But he took time to record “that the botany of England and America is alike. The clematis, the mint, the goldenrods…the wild geranium, the wild parsley, and twenty more better known to my eye than to my ear, I saw and recognized them all.” All these observations would be recalled when he wrote English Traits.

Going north he visited Edinburgh for four days and arrived in Glasgow on August 23. He took a coach to see the Lochs (lakes).

On August 26, Emerson arrived in Carlisle from Dumfries. He found “the youth I sought in Scotland and good and wise and pleasant he seems to me. Thomas Carlyle lives…16 miles from Dumfries, amid wild and desolate heathery hills with his accomplished and agreeable wife. He speaks broad Scotch with evident relish…aboot it, ay, ay, etc.”

Carlyle’s wife, Jane, told of recent disappointment. The bookseller said that Carlyle’s philosophical poem, Sartor Resartus, had not sold well. His wife also stated that Carlyle preferred to live in London more than any other place. In fact, Jane disliked the country more than her husband. They would move to London shortly.

Waldo promised to correspond with Carlyle. Waldo would also serve unofficially as literary agent for Carlyle’s works in America, and vice versa. Later in English Traits Waldo detailed his Carlyle visit.

On August 28, Waldo called upon William Wordsworth in Ambleside. Of England’s greatest living poet, Waldo wrote: “his hair was white, but there is nothing very striking about his appearance.” Wordsworth had many suggestions for Americans. He thought them too political. Wordsworth spoke very kindly of Dr. Channing from Harvard, who had visited him once.

As they walked in the garden, the poet surprised Waldo by offering to repeat three sonnets he was currently working on. He did this completely from memory. Showing Waldo a shorter path to the inn, “Wordsworth walked near a mile with me…and finally parted from me with great kindness and returned across the fields.”

In September at Liverpool, Waldo met Jacob Perkins, an American inventor who was then living in England. From Perkins, Waldo learned about steam engines. Perkins stated that they should not go faster than 15 miles per hour. Perkins confidently predicted a future time “when the ocean will be navigated…by steam.”

While waiting for the ship to leave dock, Waldo reviewed his journey. He had met many great men. And he had come to see that he could hold his own among them. His journal contained random observations including these:

  •  “I am thankful that I am an American.”
  • “Mr. Thomas Carlyle, I would give a gold pound for your wise company this gloomy eve.”

On September 4 Waldo Emerson’s ship sailed for America arriving in New York on October 7. Enroute home, he began to pen his first book, NATURE. Part 1

RWE JV3 pp 173-190

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First Trip to Europe Part 1- R.W. Emerson at 30 years old

In February 1833, the ship Waldo Emerson was on landed in Malta. Waldo noted in his journal that “I bring myself to sea, to Malta, to Italy to find new affinities between me and my fellow men…” He had a list of authors he hoped to meet – those whose works he had read in the Edinburgh Review, including a new author, Thomas Carlyle.

He toured Sicily, noting the results of volcanic activity in the region, as well as the flora and fauna. He then toured Italy, in March recording: “My poor feet are sore with walking all this day amongst the ruins of Rome.” His old “friends”, Nature and Travel, are soothing him after the death of his young wife. The people he meets along the way enliven him.

Waldo attended churches in each town where he stayed. A journal entry recorded his Palm Sunday visit to the Sistine Chapel. The Pope who blessed palm branches for twenty-one Cardinals bore little resemblance to the “Son of Man who sat on an ass” on that day being observed. Waldo attended Easter mass in St. Peter’s Basilica.

He studied the art of the great masters, on church walls and ceilings. In a convent he saw a beautiful Madonna by Leonardo da Vinci. In Rome, among the statues and fountains, he refreshed his memory of Lord Byron’s writings.

Waldo attended a party given by a former Harvard schoolmate, Horace Gray. There he met a man acquainted with Thomas Carlyle. Carlyle’s name was at the top of the list of authors Waldo wanted to meet. The dinner guest wrote a letter of introduction to use when he arrived in England.

During that April spent in Florence, Emerson found “more comfort than in Rome or Naples. Good streets, industrious population, spacious…lodgings, elegant and cheap caffes.” He dined at villas with other English-speaking people who lived nearby.

On May 8, he was saddened to learn by letter of the death of his wife Ellen’s mother. On May 25, Waldo Emerson turned 30.

Leaving Florence, Waldo arrived in Bologna where he saw Byron’s name cut with his penknife in the wall. From there he traveled to Verona and on to Brescia. In Milan he recorded, “It is in the soul that architecture exists, and [the real buildings] are poor far-behind imitations.”

He stopped at a music-box factory in Geneva on June 16 where watches were made. The established church of Geneva was Unitarian. Three Calvinistic clergymen of the city had been expelled.

If Goethe was still alive, Waldo would have gone to Germany. Instead he set out for Paris. His journal entries described the amazing scenery: “As we rose toward the top, what noble pictures appeared on the Swiss side. The Alps…” Later he wrote of the land of France “without a hill, and all planted like the Connecticut” valley. He arrived in Paris on June 20, “very glad to find here my cousin Ralph Emerson, who received me most cordially.” His cousin secured him a temporary place to stay.

Pursuing his interest in scientific discoveries of the time, Waldo visited the “Sorbonne, where the first scientific men in France lecture at stated hours every day, with doors  open to all.” He heard three speakers: Jouffroy, Thénard and Gay-Lussac. Joufrroy taught about man’s destiny and universal order. Thénard was a prominent chemist researcher and teacher. Gay-Lussac was the chair of chemistry at the Jardin des Plantes.

In the Louvre, Waldo viewed other paintings by Leonardo da Vinci. He recognized the model used by da Vinci, noting “I have seen the same face in his pictures I think six or seven times.”

July 4 Waldo dined with General Lafayette and nearly one hundred Americans. He paid his respects to this Revolutionary war hero who his Aunt Mary had met.

While he distanced from his religious New England background, seeds of doubt were being sown into his life. Waldo was drawn further away by exposure to Europeans. He felt “pledged, if health and opportunity be granted me, to demonstrate that all necessary truth is its own evidence; that no doctrine of God need appeal to a book; that Christianity is wrongly received by all such as take it for a system of doctrines….it is a rule of life, not a rule of faith.”

On July 13, he visited the Cabinet of Natural History in the Garden (Jardin) of Plants. He was enthralled by the colors of the birds’ feathers. These were as calming to Waldo as the colors and shapes of a cabinet full of shells. The spiral of the shell spoke to him of the Divine within all.

In other rooms, he saw “amber containing perfect musquitoes, grand blocks of quartz, native gold in all its forms of crystallization, – threads, plates, crystals, dust; and silver, back as from fire. Ah! Said I, this is philanthropy, wisdom, taste, – from a cabinet of natural history.” “The universe is a more amazing puzzle than ever…”

After the flower-garden, he came to “the enclosures for the animals, where almost all that Adam named or Noah preserved are represented.”

In Paris Waldo noted the freedom men have as long as they had money in their pocket. He attended a new church where the founder was a “Unitarian, more radical than anybody in America who takes that name.” The church was entirely funded by the founder.

Early on July 19 he boarded a steamboat from Boulogne for London. Part 2

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