Emily Dickinson

Born December 10, 1830-Died May 15, 1886

Childhood

She was born into a prominent family; a noble family in New England. Her family took to church and she was well educated. She often missed school in her seven years of education due to illness. When Emily was only thirteen her cousin and close friend, Sophia Holland, died of typhus. In 1846 Amherst Academy got a new headmaster, a young man about twenty; his name was Leonard Humphrey. He was just the first in many men whom Emily Dickinson would latch onto throughout her life. They grew close as student and teacher, and she even called him master. After graduating from Amherst Academy in 1847 Emily Dickinson enrolled at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary. During her time at the school she refused to take part in any Christian evangelical efforts.She did considered herself to be a believer but never joined a church. On March 25, 1848 Emily’s older brother, William Austin, arrived at Mount Holyoke to take her back to Amherst; and she lived out the rest of her life in The Homestead.
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Family

Her paternal grandfather founded Amherst College. Her father Edward Dickinson was a lawyer, treasurer of Amherst College, a Massachusetts state representative, a senator, a member of the governor’s cabinet and a U.S. Congressman. According to Emily’s journals and letters it seems that her mother, Emily Norcross Dickinson, had an aloof personality and may have suffered from depression. Emily Dickinson had two siblings, an older brother named William Austin Dickinson and a younger sister named Lavinia Norcross Dickinson.

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Emily Dickinson's Parents

Edward Dickinson and Emily Norcross Dickinson

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Adult life

Her father died in 1874 from a stroke. But during his funeral she stayed in her room. Her mother died eight years later, 1882. In 1883 her favorite nephew Gilbert died. And in 1884 her friend Judge Lord died as well.




Career: Poetry

Death

May 15, 1886 Amherst, Ma; age fifty-five. Emily Dickinson’s death certificate says that she died from Bright’s disease, recent research says that her symptoms and medication indicates that she may have had severe primary hypertension (high blood pressure), that could have led to heart or a brain hemorrhage. Emily Dickinson was buried in West Cemetery, located in the middle of Amherst.

Her grave stone read

“Emily Dickinson

Born Dec, 10, 1830

Called Back

May 15 1886”

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After Death

Lavinia Norcross Dickinson, Emily Dickinson’s sister, discovered her sister’s poems shortly after her death and thought that her sisters poems should be published. At first she tried to publish it with Susan, her sister-in-law, but Lavinia thought that Susan didn’t publish it fast enough; so she decided to turn to Mabel Loomis Todd; an Amherst College professor’s young wife to help her publish Emily Dickinson’s work.


A Psalm Of Life by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow - Poetry Reading

Quote

“A word is dead when it is said, some say. I say it just begins to live that day.”

Extra Information

There are stories of her lowering baskets of cookies for the children that played under her window.

Poetry

Poetry took up all of her time

If she wasn't writing poetry she was sleeping or eating