Thoreau’s Lament on Cider’s Fall

Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau’s (1817-1862) essay, “Wild Apples,” was published posthumously in the November, 1862 edition of The Atlantic Monthly.  In it, Thoreau celebrated the history, beauty, fragrance, taste, and meanings of apples and apple trees – i.e., both regarding apples in general and wild apples in particular.  His essay ended with a rueful lament suggesting that, owing to the rise of temperance and the grafted apple, the days of the wild apple were numbered.

William J. Rorabaugh’s The Alcoholic Republic (1979) told of two great transitions in the long history of U.S. alcohol consumption:  namely, from hard cider to beer and from rum to whiskey.  Of cider’s great popularity in the colonial and Early Republic periods, Rorabaugh wrote:

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