The Dickinson Homestead

Home of Emily Dickinson

Amherst, Massachusetts

Dickinson Homestead

A National Historic Landmark

The Dickinson Homestead, where Emily Dickinson was born, (1830 - 1886), and where she lived all but fifteen years of her life, is a National Historic Landmark owned by Amherst College. Here Dickinson wrote her extraordinary poems (1775 are known) and letters (about 1000 extant). Although fewer than a dozen poems were published during her lifetime, Dickinson's reputation as one of America's most remarkable and compelling poets has grown steadily through the posthumous publication of her work.

Built around 1813 by Emily's grandparents, Samuel Fowler Dickinson and Lucretia Gunn Dickinson, the Homestead was believed to be the first brick house in Amherst, Massachusetts. Fowler Dickinson, a lawyer, was one of the founders of Amherst College. During the fall of 1830, his eldest son Edward, also a lawyer, and Edwards wife, Emily Norcross Dickinson, moved into the western half of the Homestead with their young son Austin. A few months later, on December 10, Emily Elizabeth Dickinson was born, followed in 1833 by a second daughter, Lavinia.

Although in her later years Emily Dickinson rarely left the family property she led an active life at the Homestead. Throughout the house and grounds she attended to her domestic chores, cultivated plants in her garden and conservatory, and composed her verse. She also maintained an extensive correspondence with family and friends.

Today the Homestead is open to the public for tours from March through mid-December. Visitors can also enjoy the grounds and garden, which contains plants that were grown in the nineteenth century.

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