1. Tour Introduction

A photograph of a two-story Georgian house with yellow brick and green shutters. There are two chimneys, a cupola, an elaborately pedimented doorway, and a shady veranda. The house is surrounded by green trees, a hemlock hedge, and a tan, wooden fence.

Welcome to the Emily Dickinson Museum. The property, which consists now of three acres and includes two houses, the Homestead and the Evergreens, was the axis of the Dickinsons’ world.

You are standing outside of The Homestead, Emily Dickinson’s home and home to three generations of Dickinsons. Emily Dickinson, who lived from 1830 to 1886, wrote most of her poems in this house. She drew much of her inspiration from the natural world around it. While she was alive, her work was virtually unpublished. Now she is regarded as one of America’s great poets.

The poet’s grandfather, Samuel Fowler Dickinson, built this brick house on a large parcel of land around 1813. Her parents, Edward Dickinson and Emily Norcross Dickinson, moved into the house in 1830 with their infant son, Austin. Emily was born in this house later that year on December 10. Her younger sister Lavinia was born three years later. The property was home to Austin, Emily and Vinnie for the greater part of their lives. Between 1840 and 1855, the family resided in a house on North Pleasant Street in Amherst that has since been demolished. In 1855 the family returned to the Homestead property and spent the rest of their lives here.

Emily Dickinson once wrote to a friend:

I was reared in the garden, you know. (L206)

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