Bradford Torrey

9 October 1843-7 October 1912

by Kevin E. O'Donnell

East Tennessee State University


This is an uncorrected 3,500 wd manuscript of an article that appears in Early American Nature Writers.  Ed. Daniel Patterson,  et al.  Westport  Ct, Greenwood Press, 2008. 




1. Overview of Torrey's work

2. Scarcity of biographical sources

3. Early years, schooling, and employment

4. Torrey's writing in the 1880s: urban nature

5. Torrey in the 1890s: travel to points south and west

6. Bird-watching and character development

7. Torrey as aesthete, traveler, educator of the middle class

8. Torrey's last years

9. Decline of Torrey's reputation, despite efforts to canonize him

10. Torrey's writing today

11. Torrey's anthropomorphism

12. Torrey's critique of Emerson

13. Torrey's gentle anti-imperialism

14. Torrey as naturalist, not nature faker

15. Torrey's critique of science







* * *



1. Overview of Torrey's work


Though his work first appeared in print when he was already 39 years old, Bradford Torrey produced 13 books of nature writing in the subsequent 28 years of his life.  Those books are mainly collections of essays he wrote for the Atlantic Monthly.  Torrey was among the most popular of the Houghton and Mifflin Company's travel and "outdoor" writers at the end of the 19th century.  (Other outdoor writers then in the Houghton Mifflin stable include H. D. Thoreau, John Burroughs, and John Muir.)  Torrey also wrote, for a time, a weekly nature column for a Boston daily newspaper. 


A close observer of nature, and a master of the "ramble" when that literary form was at the height of its popularity, Torrey blended the nature ramble with travel writing and ornithology,  to introduce readers to emerging vacation destinations in the United States. 


Torrey was also an energetic promoter of Henry David Thoreau's work.  He edited a "deluxe" edition of "Walden" in the 1890s, and he edited the first version of Thoreau's Journal, in 14 volumes, as part of the 20-volume "Manuscript Edition" of Thoreau's Complete Works, issued by Houghton and Mifflin in 1906.  (Torrey's friend and assistant, Francis H. Allen, though not credited as co-editor in the 1906 edition, does receive credit in later editions.) 


Torrey was a prominent proponent of bird-watching.  In addition to his newspaper columns and Atlantic Monthly articles, he wrote numerous essays and field observations for ornithological publications such as Bird-Lore, The Auk, and The Condor, and ornithological articles for non-scientific periodicals such as Youth's Companion and the Christian Endeavor World.  During the years covered by Torrey's career, bird-watching went from being an unusual hobby, practiced by few Americans, to become a widespread practice, endorsed as part of school curricula across the country.  Indeed, by the time of Torrey's death, amateur ornithology had become so popular that it was a common subject of satire. 


2. Scarcity of biographical sources


Very little biographical information about Torrey has been published.  The best source is a brief, lovingly-rendered account of his life, written by his colleague and friend Francis H. Allen, which appeared in The Auk (The Bulletin of the Nuttall Ornithological Club), three months after Torrey's death.  As a result of the lack of information, misconceptions about Torrey's life have disseminated among students of American nature writing--including the erroneous notion that Torrey retired, Thoreau-like, to an isolated cabin in California.  That error probably originated with a Dictionary of American Biography article written by Henry S. Chapman in the 1920s.  In actual fact, Torrey retired to a Santa Barbara hotel.  As his essays and correspondence show, he lived an active life, based in that California city, in the years preceding his death.  His essays also show that, unlike John Muir and other outdoor writers of the period, Torrey had no enthusiasm for "roughing it," though he was an exhuberant advocate of foot travel, even as the automobile began to gain widespread use. 


Though he did not retreat to a cabin, Torrey does emerge, from the information available, as a solitary figure.  He was a confirmed, life-long bachelor.  His letters shows he had a far-flung network of correspondents (including Celia Thaxter, with whom he conducted an energetic correspondence--see Marion Titus's collection of Thaxter's letters to Torrey).  Yet the few first-hand accounts of him suggest that Torrey was a shy man who kept to himself.  John Burroughs observes, in a letter to a friend, that Torrey was "a fine-souled fellow [who] suggests a bird with his bright eyes and shy ways and sensitiveness" (Barrus v.1, 330).  Allen, in his obituary for Torrey, remarks that, "in his social relations [Torrey] was too modest and retiring to form a wide acquaintance, but he was much loved by the small circle of his more intimate friends" (159). 


3. Early years, schooling, and employment


Only the broad outlines are known of Torrey's life before he began publishing.  Torrey was born in Weymouth, Massachussetts to Samuel and Sophronia (Dyer) Torrey, on October 9, 1843.  His own writings suggest a boyhood filled with nature rambles on his father's land and adjoining property in what was then a largely rural area outside Boston.


Torrey graduated from Weymouth public schools at the age of eighteen.  At first he tried working in a shoe factory, then taught school briefly, before entering what Allen describes as "positions with two business houses in Boston" (157).  Though Torrey was of the right age to serve in the Civil War, none of his obituaries mention service.  Around 1870, Torrey took a position in the office of the Treasurer of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, in Boston, where he remained for about 16 years.  In 1886, he obtained a position with Youth's Companion, a popular magazine that was then rising to the height of its influence.  There Torrey edited the "Miscellany" section of the magazine.  He remained on the Youth's Companion editorial staff until 1901, which is around the time he began work on Thoreau's journal, and also around the time that he began his newspaper column. 


4. Torrey's writing in the 1880s: urban nature


Torrey belongs among a group of writers "whose essays laid the spiritual foundation for an age of suburbs," as Peter Schmitt observes in his classic 1969 study of American attitudes towards nature (21).  That is, Torrey's writings both shaped and reflected what Schmitt calls the middle-class "Arcadian myth," the viewpoint that seeks to join the advantages of city and country living.  Unlike an earlier, Romantic point of view, this myth or viewpoint does not reject urbanism.  Instead, it wants to temper the downside of urbanism by promoting green space. 


So Torrey's first published essay, "With the Birds on Boston Common," which appeared in the Atlantic Monthly in February 1883, shows the narrator discovering nature study in an urban setting--namely, on Boston Common, the historic, urban green space outside the Park Street offices of the Atlantic Monthly itself. 


Torrey delighted readers with the notion that they could become observers of the natural world, even in the city.  His urban nature rambles-- with their genial, polished charm and astute natural history observations--found an enthusiastic audience in the 1880s.  Torrey's first two books quickly went through multiple "editions."  (What publishers then called "editions" are now called "printings.")   Bliss Perry, one-time editor of that magazine, remarks in his memoirs that "anything from Bradford Torrey ... [was] sure of an appreciative response" from readers during this period (176). 


Torrey's audience, in this and many of his early essays, is explicity the urban commuter, much like the person he mentions in a typical aside from one of his newspaper articles: 


"Only last night a man took a seat by me in an electric car and said . . . that he and his family, who live in a desirably secluded, woody spot, had never before seen so many birds, especially so many warblers" (Clerk of the Woods 10). 


This urban audience is implied by the title of Torrey's turn-of-the-century newspaper column: "The Clerk of the Woods."  The title joins an urban, white-collar, middle-class occupation ("The Clerk"), with nature study ("The Woods"). 


5. Torrey in the 1890s: travel to points south and west


Some modern commentators still consider Torrey to be exclusively an urban, New-England writer.  An author of a recent study of Burroughs, for instance, mistakenly observes that "Torrey never took his readers more than ten miles from downtown" (Renehan 252).  


It is true that most of the essays in Torrey's first three books are set in and around Boston and eastern Massachussetts.  Yet those books also include essays from New Hampshire's White Mountains.  And in the early 1890s, Torrey began roaming farther afield.   He travelled south--to Florida, east Tennessee and western North Carolina, Arizona, California--at a time when those regions were being developed as vacation destinations, and just as vacation travel was becoming more affordable for middle class Americans.


Torrey's writings about the American southeast "represent the first major work on southern nature since Bartram, Wilson, and Audubon," according to one twentieth-century observer (Welker 154). 


Unlike John Burroughs, who claimed that he felt out of place whenever he left his native rural New York, Torrey shows himself to be an alert and sympathetic traveler.  And in a later essay, he launches a spirited defense of travel writing ("the value of such literature depends on the observer's altertness, fairness, good sense . . . rather than upon the length and leisureliness of his journey" [Friends on the Shelf 325]) and of the "scribbling tourist" ("those who know a place or person best," writes Torrey, paraphrasing Bagehot, "are not those most likely to describe it best" [Friends on the Shelf 324]). 


6. Bird-watching associated with good character


Torrey's narrative persona, in his first few books, is personable and agreeable, occasionally scripture-quoting, and with a touch of moralizing and didacticism.  Torrey began writing about birds in the 1880s, at the beginning of a movement that, by the turn of the century, would come to associate bird watching with character development (Welker 191). 


So for example, in an essay from his first book, entitled, "Character in Feathers," Torrey writes about chickadees as models of personal behavior, because of their good cheer in the face of hardships:  "Their [chickadees'] example might well be heeded by those who suffer from fits of depression.... [the bird's song] would most likely send them home in a more Christian mood.  The time will come, we may hope, when doctors will prescribe bird gazing instead of blue-pill" (59). 


7. Torrey as aesthete, traveler, educator of the middle class


In later essays, Torrey comes close to adopting the pose of the late-Victorian aesthete.  He refers to himself as a "rambler," an "idler," and a "bird-gazer."  ("Our creed is more frankly hedonistic," he remarks at one point, when comparing himself and a companion to an entymologist on a vacation trip [Footing It...  XX]. 


Yet even while posing as an the aesthete, he retains a peculiar, New-England-style industriousness and didacticism.  He writes, in Footing it in Franconia, for example, of his "industrious indolence" (131).  The didactic aim of Torrey's travel writing is to tutor his middle-class audience in how to enjoy their travel and leisure in refined ways. 


In Clerk of the Woods, for example, he educates his middle class audience in the discourse of the "picturesque," so that they may properly enjoy the scenery, when visiting the North Shore.  Here he provides an easy, practical take on the transcendentalist version of the picturesque, in order to justify repeated visits to a North Shore vacation destination: 


"The eye is the lens, the mind is the plate.  The landscape prints itself upon the mind, through the eye.  But the mind must be sensitive and still, and--what is oftener forgotten--the exposure must be suffciently prolonged" (105). 


Elsewhere, he tells his New England audience how to travel to popular southern vacation destinations while distinguishing themselves from the herd of common tourists.  He provides advice on clothing and deportment for New Englanders wintering in Daytona Beach, Florida, for instance (A Florida Sketch-Book  42-44).  And he instructs the White Mountain vacationer on how to enter the the "noble fraternity of saunterers" (Rambler's Lease 189).  "I speak of those of us who foot it," he writes, in Footing It in Franconia: "To plod through the mud is more exhilarating than to sit before a fire; and we leave the question of reasonableness and comfort on one side" (4). 


8. Torrey's last years


After Torrey took on the project of editing Thoreau's Journals, around 1900, his own productivity declined.  Apparently, the effort of editing millions of manuscript pages sapped his energy for writing.  There are also indications that Torrey's health declined after 1900.  By 1907, he left New England for southern California.  In California, using Santa Barbara as a base, Torrey traveled regularly around the American southwest, writing the essays that would end up comprising Field Days in California (1913), a book that was published a few months after Torrey's death in 1912. 


Though his productivity declined, he wrote some of his best work during this time, including the Yosemite paper published in Field Days. During this time he also published in the Atlantic and other periodicals, and he published numerous ornithological and autobiographical notes in the Condor, the Bulletin of the Cooper Ornithological Club (A Bimonthly Exponent of California Ornithology) published in Santa Clara, California. 


9. Decline of Torrey's reputation, despite efforts to canonize him


With the rising popularity of nature writing after the turn of the twentieth century, Houghton-Mifflin appears to have made an attempt to include Torrey in a developing nature-writing cannon.  Editors included Torrey's work in a 1909 anthology, for example.  This same collection represents six other writers under contract with Houghton Mifflin.  The writers' work appears, apparently, in order of their order of importance: 


Henry D. Thoreau,

John Burroughs,

John Muir,

Bradford Torrey,

Dallas Lore Sharp,

Olive Thorne Miller. 


Of those six, only the first three are well-known, a century after the collections was published. 


After the turn of the century, Torrey's popularity declined, even as Thoreau's star rose.  By the time he died, Torrey's readership had been in decline for ten years or more.  In a sense, Torrey outlived his audience.  After his death, literary critics largely ignored his work.  Twentieth century readers and critics alike came to reject the polite, gentle, and genteel literary traditions with which Torrey was associated.  Yet for a period at the end of the 19th century--while the genteel nature ramble still had a following, and before bird-watching became a subject for satire --Torrey's writing was popular. 


Upon hearing of Torrey's death, John Burroughs remarked, in a letter to a friend:


"He [Torrey] was a rare spirit and a maker of pure literature.  His style has an ease and flexibility and a conversational charm that I wish I might inherit.  Yet Clifton Johnson says his books have little sale.  What a criticism of the readers of nature books!" (Barrus, v. 2, 184). 


10. Torrey's writing today


Though ignored by literary critics, Torrey's work has continued to serve as primary source material for naturalists, cultural historians, and, more recently, environmental historians.  In recent years, attention to his writing has been revived by students of American attitudes towards nature, and by students of Thoreau's canonization.  Also recently, selections from Torrey's writing have been reprinted in regional nature writing and travel writing collections. 


Despite the decline in his reputation, twenty-first century readers will find appealing qualities beneath the polite veneer of Torrey's prose.  At a time when science had begun policing the boundaries between amateur and professional discourse, Torrey wrote with the precision of a scientist, yet insistently rejected professionalization.  At a time when even prominent conservationists and ornithologists were hunters, Torrey railed acidly against gunning.  Torrey's writings include surprisingly modern commentary on the nature of observation, seeing, and perception.  And they are informed by some idiosyncratic and distinctly un-genteel notions, including the belief that birds, insects, and even plants have souls.  Torrey considered birds to be individuals, as well as representatives of their species, and he sometimes wrote commentary about individual birds' musical performances that borders on music criticism. 


11. Torrey's anthropomorphism


Unlike some writers of his time and of today, Torrey consistently entertains, flirts with, what modern readers might call a "non-human" point of view. 


In a newspaper column entitled "Autumnal Moralities," for instance, Torrey observes two old white oaks, two trees he has long known, and he wonders if these trees don't enjoy each other's company.  "Who knows--putting the matter on grounds of pure science--whether they do not enjoy each other's companionship?  Who knows that trees have no kind of sentience?  Not I" (Clerk of the Woods 122). 


Torrey's anthropomorphism leads him to oppose gunning, at a time when many prominent conservationists were gunners.  In an article entitled "An Idler on Missionary Ridge," for example, following his comments on the song of the thrasher, Torrey writes, "The thrasher is to a peculiar degree a bird of passion; ecstatic in song, furious in anger, irresistibly pitiful in lamentation.  How any man can rob a thrasher's nest with that heartbroken whistle in his ears is more than I can imagine" (Spring Notes from Tennessee 18). 


In an essay entitled "Flowers and Folk," Torrey imagines a study of "the human nature of plants."   The work he has in mind would be a different kind of botany, which would "deal not so much with our likeness to trees and herb as with the likeness of tree and herb to us" (The Foot-Path Way 207). 


Modern readers may find Torrey's anthropmorphising to be cloying, and Torrey himself is apologetic about this tendency.  So he remarks, with self-deprecation likely meant to disarm, in an essay entitled "Butterfly Psychology," after speculating about a butterfly's inner life:


It is my private heresy, perhaps, this strong anthromorphic turn of mind, which impels me to assume the presence of a soul in all animals, even in these airy nothings; and, having assumed its existence, to speculate as to what goes on within it.  (A Rambler's Lease 213)


12. Torrey's critique of Emerson


In his much-anthologized and influential essay "Nature" (1836), Ralph Waldo Emerson defined nature as everything that was the other, the "not me:"


Philosophically considered, the universe is composed of Nature and the Soul. Strictly speaking, therefore, all that is separate from us, all which Philosophy distinguishes as the NOT ME, . . . must be ranked under this name, NATURE.


Torrey's anthropomorphic point of view, on the other hand, leads Torrey consistently to entertain the point of view of the other.  Emerson's nature as "not me" becomes Torrey's imaginative point of view.  In turn, that leads Torrey to consider--if always ever so politely--the serious ethical questions raised by non-human perspectives. 


13. Torrey's gentle anti-imperialism


Torrey was by no means a political activist.  His calls for conservation, though consistent throughout his work, are gentle, even timid, in comparison with those of, say, John Muir, his contemporary.  Yet Torrey's anthropomorphism did lead him to make some significant social commentary.  For example, farther along in the nature ramble called "Autumnal Moralities," mentioned above, after seeing the old companion white oaks, Torrey reaches a stand of old pines.  Addressing an imaginary property owner, he writes of the trees:


These tall pine trees are yours.  You have sovereignty over them, to use a word that is just now sweet in the American mouth....  You may turn all their beauty to ashes, and it will be nobody's business to remonstrate.  The trees are yours.

            I hope, notwithstanding, that you do not quite think so.  I would rather believe that you look upon your so-called proprietorship as little more than a convenient legal fiction; . . . (CW 147-48) 


The thoughts here are not notable for their originality:  These comments about property merely extend Thoreau's ideas about how a rambler can own a field, just by walking through it.  Yet the remark about the word "sovereignty" as "just now sweet in the American mouth," appears in a Boston newspaper at a time of growing American imperialism.  Expansionist sentiment had lead to the Spanish-American war.  This is the time of the "war fever" expressed in William Dean Howell's much-anthologized short story, "Editha." 


During the same era, industrial logging practices had already begun which would, within the decade, lead to the clearcutting of most of the old-growth forests in New Hampshire's White Mountains, as well as in the mountains of the southeast.  Torrey here seems to link anti-imperialism with anti-logging sentiment.  Perhaps his anthropomorphic turn of mind, his sympathy for the tree's point of view, leads him to link the two phenomena--imperialism, on the one hand, and short-sighted industrial logging on the other.  Surely at least some readers of the evening paper understood the connection.


The comments are especially notable considering Torrey's audience.  Unlike Muir, whose readership reached critical mass years after his books were published, Torrey wrote weekly for a large audience.  His column for the Boston Evening Transcript (it also appeared in in the New York Mail and Express), appeared at a time when the Transcript was read daily by "all proper Bostonians," according to one resident of Wellesley, Massachussetts who was an enthusiastic follower of Torrey's column (Lamson 4). 


14. Torrey as naturalist, not nature faker


In 1906, John Burroughs wrote what was to become a famous critique of sensationalistic nature writers, such as Ernest Seton-Thompson, for their anthropomorphic conceits.  Burroughs' article initiated a debate that came to be known as the "nature faker" controversy, a controversy that remained in the public eye for years, and eventually involved public commentary from Theodore Roosevelt, even as Roosevelt was president of the United States. 


Yet, while Burroughs takes nature writers to task for their too-fanciful anthropomorphism, he begins the article by singling out Bradford Torrey, not for criticism, but rather for praise: 


"But before I proceed with this discussion, let me briefly speak of the books that have lately appeared in this field that are real contributions to the literature of the subjects of which they treat.  All of Mr. Bradford Torrey's bird studies merit this encomium" (298). 


Despite Torrey's conistent entertainment of non-human perspectives, then, Torrey retains Burroughs' approval because of his accuracy, close observation, and respect for facts.


Even with his tendency to anthropomorphise, Torrey retains a scientific frame of mind.  He takes nature study seriously, and in his later writings, especially, he is careful and precise, even with intuitive observations. 


In "Some Tennessee Bird Notes," for example, Torrey concludes, after listening to oven birds singing, that those birds are not migrating but are, rather, native to the region.  This conclusion is based on intuition, he explains:  "Birds which are at home have, as a rule, an air of being at home; a certain manner hard to define, but felt, nevertheless, as a pretty strong kind of evidence--not proof--by a practiced observer" (Spring Notes from Tennessee 197). 


15. Torrey's critique of science


Torrey's anthropomorphism likewise leads him to a critique of the scientific perspective.  So he observes that,


one may become so zealous a botanist as almost to cease to be a man.  The shifting panorama of the heavens and the earth no longer appeals to him.  He is now a specialist, and go where he will, he sees nothing but specimens.  (Rambler's Lease 196)


Torrey considers birds not, primarily, as species to be classified, but as individuals:


The scientific classification of species] rates birds as bodies, and nothing else: while to the person of whom we are speaking [that is, 'the person whose interest in birds is friendly rather than scientific'] birds are, first of all, souls; his interest in them is, as we say, personal.  (Birds in the Bush 57)





Francis H. Allen, "Bradford Torrey [obituary--in 'Notes and News']," The Auk (The Bulletin of the Nuttall Ornithological Club [Cambridge MA]), 30 (1913), 157-59;


Clara Barrus, The Life and Letters of John Burroughs, in 2 Volumes (Boston: Houghton and Mifflin, 1925);


Paul Brooks, Speaking for Nature: How Literary Naturalists from Henry Thoreau to Rachel Carson Have Shaped America (Boston: Houghton and Mifflin, 1980);


John Burroughs, "Real and Sham Natural History," Atlantic Monthly 91 (March 1903): 298-309;


Robert C. Cottrell, Roger Nash Baldwin and the American Civil Liberties Union (Columbia UP, 2000); 


Felton Gibbons and Deborah Strom, Neighbors to the Birds: A History of Birdwatching in America (New York: Norton, 1988);


Peggy Lamson, Roger Baldwin: Founder of the American Civil Liberties Union (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1976);


Ralph H. Lutts, The Nature Fakers: Wildlife, Science, and Sentiment (Golden CO: Fulcrum, 1990);


Perry Miller, "A Note on the Editing," Consciousness in Concord: The Text of Thoreau's hitherto "Lost Journal" (1840-41), by H. D. Thoreau [Thoreau's journal, July 30, 1840-January 22, 1841--the portion omitted from Torrey's 1906 edition], ed. Perry Miller (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1958): 128-30. 


Bliss Perry, And Gladly Teach: Reminiscences (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1935);


Renehan, John Burroughs: American Naturalist (Publisher? 1992);


Peter J. Schmitt, Back to Nature: The Arcadian Myth in Urban America, 1900-1930 (Oxford UP, 1969);


Donna Marion Titus, ed., By This Wing: Letters by Celia Thaxter to Bradford Torrey about Birds at the Isles of Shoals, 1888 to 1894 (Manchester NH: J. Palmer Publisher, 1999);


Robert Henry Welker,  Birds and Men: American Birds in Science, Art, Literature and Conservation, 1800-1900 (Cambridge: Belknap of Harvard U Press, 1955);





Birds in the Bush (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Co., 1885);


A Rambler's Lease (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Co., 1889);


The Foot-Path Way (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Co., 1892);


A Florida Sketch-Book (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Co., 1894);


Spring Notes from Tennessee (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Co., 1896);


A World of Green Hills: Observations of Nature and Human Nature in the Blue Ridge. (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Co., 1898);


Everyday Birds: Elementary Studies [juvenile], With Twelve Illustrations in Color after Audubon, and Two from Photographs (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Co., 1901);


Footing it in Franconia (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Co., 1901);


The Clerk of the Woods (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Co., 1903);


Nature's Invitation; Notes of a Bird-Gazer North and South (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Co., 1904);


Friends on the Shelf (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Co., 1906); 


Field-Days in California (with Illustrations from Photographs) (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1913). 





"With the Birds on Boston Common," Atlantic Monthly 51 (February 1883): 203-208. 


"The Bird of Thanksgiving," Youth's Companion 61 (29 November 1888): 605-08;


"The 'Booming' of the Bittern," The Auk (The Bulletin of the Nuttall Ornithological Club [Cambridge MA]), 6 (1889): 1-8;


"Watching the Bittern 'Pump'," Bird-Lore: An Illustrated Bi-Monthly Magazine Devoted to the Study and Protection of Birds (Official Organ of the Audubon Societies), 1 (August 1899): 123-25;


Introduction, The Journal of Henry D. Thoreau, 14 volumes, ed. by Bradford Torrey and Francis H. Allen (Boston: Houghton and Mifflin, 1906): xix-li;


Introduction, Birds of the Boston Public Garden: A Study in Migration,; with an Introduction by Bradford Torrey and Illustrations, by Horace Winslow Wright (Boston: Houghton and Mifflin, 1909): xv-xviii;


"Scraping Acquaintance (from Birds in the Bush)" and "An Old Road (from A Rambler's Lease)," In American Fields and Forests: Henry D. Thoreau, John Burroughs, John Muir, Bradford Torrey, Dallas Lore Sharp, Olive Thorne Miller; with Illustrations from Photographs by Herbert W. Gleason (Boston: Houghton and Mifflin, 1909): 271-290; 290-309. 





Thoreau, Henry David, Walden, with an Introduction by Bradford Torrey; Illustrated with Photogravures, in  2 volumes. (Boston: Houghton and Mifflin, 1897) ["deluxe" edition]; 


_____.  Excursions, ed. Bradford Torrey and Francis H. Allen (Boston: Houghton and Mifflin, 1906);


_____.  The Journal of Henry David Thoreau, in 14 Volumes, ed. Bradford Torrey and Francis H. Allen, from The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, in Twenty Volumes [Manuscript Edition] (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Co., 1906). 





From "At Natural Bridge" [A World of Green Hills], in The Height of Our Mountains: Nature Writing from Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah Valley, ed. Michael P. Branch and Daniel J. Phillippon (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1998) 200-204;


From "Birds, Flowers, and People" [A World of Green Hills], in North Carolina Nature Writing: Four Centuries of Personal Narratives and Descriptions, ed. Richard Rankin (Winston-Salem NC: John F. Blair Publisher, 1996) 87-95;


"A Week on Walden's Ridge I" [Spring Notes from Tennessee], in Seekers of Scenery: Travel Writing from Southern Appalachia, 1840-1900, ed. Kevin E. O'Donnell and Helen Hollingsworth (Knoxville: U of Tennessee P, 2004) 83-96. 





Torrey was an energetic and prolific letter writer.  Most of his letters are apparently widely scattered.  The most extensive collection is in the William Brewster Collection at Harvard University's Museum of Comparative Zoology.  Torrey corresponded regularly with Brewster over a period of 25 years.  Brewster, curator of mammals and birds, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard, from 1885 to 1900, was well-known for his ornithological expeditions, and Torrey's writings about the American southeast, especially, are informed by Brewster's observations. 


The Houghton Library at Harvard University holds a number of letters from Torrey to his editors at the publishing firm of Houghton and Mifflin, and to editors at the Atlantic Monthly, regarding the preparation and publication of his work. 


Another notable cluster of letters, written to Joseph Grinnell, is held in the Joseph Grinnell papers at the Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.  These letters regard mainly behavior and identification species of birds native to the western United States.  Joseph Grinnell, an influential ecologist and officer in the Cooper Ornithological Club  (not to be confused with Joseph Bird Grinnell, the well-known ornithologist from the same period), was active in wildlife protection and conservation in the west, and was director of the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, at the University of California, from 1908 until his death in 1939. 


Torrey carried on a lively, flirtatious correspondence with Celia Thaxter, from 1888 to Thaxter's death in 1894.  Thaxter's letters to Torrey were selected and published in 1999.  According to Donna Marion Titus, the editor of that volume, Torrey's letters to Thaxter are lost.  But much can be inferred about Torrey's work and personality from Thaxter's side of the correspondence.  (See Titus in References.) 


65 letters to William Brewster, 1884-1909 (bBr 661.10.1); William Brewster Collection, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University. 


22 letters to and from the Houghton Mifflin Company, 1886-1903 (bMS Am 1925: I. A., item 1791); 8 Letters to The Atlantic Monthly, 1900-1903 (bMS Am 1925.1, item 115); Houghton Mifflin Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard University. 


17 letters to Joseph Grinnell, 1905-1907; Joseph Grinnell papers (BANC MSS C-B 995); The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.