the Evergreens surrounded by beautiful fall trees

Emily Dickinson International Society
Annual Meeting
July 26-28, 2024

the Evergreens surrounded by beautiful fall trees

EDIS’s Annual Meeting is returning again to Amherst! This year’s theme, “Neighbor Dickinson,” celebrates the reopening of Austin and Susan Dickinson’s home The Evergreens, which has been closed to the public since 2019, and the publication of the first new complete edition of Dickinson’s letters in almost 70 years. Talks and panel presentations will discuss the very idea of neighborliness, what it was like to have Dickinson as a neighbor, and what neighborliness meant to her. Talks will focus on family and friends at The Evergreens and throughout Amherst, and those like Charles Darwin who inhabited her intellectual neighborhood. As well as showcasing exciting new Dickinson scholarship, the meeting will include open tours of the Dickinson houses, a walking tour of Dickinson’s neighborhood (taking in downtown Amherst  and Wildwood Cemetery), and a banquet in the Museum gardens.

Special events will include a marathon reading inspired by the new edition of Dickinson’s letters and an opportunity to transcribe the manuscripts of nineteenth-century letters written by Dickinson’s neighbors. In addition to these activities and presentations, the meeting will include “Dickinson Communities” gatherings to discuss research, pedagogy, translation, and the arts.
Join us in Amherst, 26-28 July 2024, to learn more about Dickinson and her neighborhood and to celebrate and share insights about her life and writings.

 Save the date. Program description and registration information coming soon.

The Evergreens parlor filled with Dickinson family objects including furniture, paintings, instruments and more

Press Release:
Evergreens Reopening

EMILY DICKINSON MUSEUM ANNOUNCES REOPENING OF THE EVERGREENS ON MARCH 1, 2024

The Evergreens, the historic Dickinson family house next to the Homestead, will reopen for public visitation for the first time since 2019.

For Immediate Release
Contact: Patrick Fecher
pfecher@emilydickinsonmuseum.org

(Wednesday, January 31, 2024, AMHERST, MA) – Today the Emily Dickinson Museum announces the reopening of The Evergreens, an integral component of the American literary site interpreting and celebrating Emily Dickinson’s life and legacy. Located just west of the Homestead, The Evergreens was built for the poet’s brother Austin and his family in 1856. The lives of the Dickinson families at the Homestead and The Evergreens were closely linked, both in their daily conduct and in the private lives that unfolded in the houses. These connections had a profound impact on Emily Dickinson’s poetry and, later, on the posthumous publication of her verse and the preservation of her legacy. The Evergreens remains largely unaltered since the time when Emily Dickinson’s family lived here, a time capsule reflecting the wide-ranging aesthetic and intellectual interests of the entire family.

The Evergreens parlor filled with Dickinson family objects including furniture, paintings, instruments and moreClosed since 2019, the Museum recently completed a multi-year preservation effort at The Evergreens, aimed at improving environmental conditions for objects in its recently documented collection, and reducing energy consumption. Supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund, the project focused first on reducing energy consumption through building envelope repairs, new insulation, and light filtration. It continued with installation of a museum-grade HVAC system to maintain temperature and relative humidity in ranges that promote the preservation of sensitive collections objects.

Jane and Robert Keiter Family Executive Director Jane Wald says, “We are so pleased that this important project has reached a successful conclusion. The Evergreens is an extraordinary house, unusually preserved, and steeped in the histories of the Dickinson family and the town of Amherst. That it has been little changed since the end of the nineteenth century and remains full of Dickinson family possessions was a distinct choice by family members and heirs, but one that led to decades of environmental conditions unfriendly to collections. Improvements to the building envelope and an effective heating and cooling system are a significant contribution to the preservation of the Dickinson home, history, and material legacy.”  

The Evergreens is thought to have been designed by prolific Northampton architect William Fenno Pratt — the house is one of the earliest unchanged examples of Italianate domestic architecture in Amherst. Under Susan Dickinson’s direction, The Evergreens quickly became a center of the town’s social and cultural life, with notable visitors such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Wendell Philips, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Frederick Law Olmsted. 

Austin and Susan Dickinson lived at The Evergreens until their respective deaths in 1895 and 1913. Their only surviving child, Martha Dickinson Bianchi, edited numerous collections of her aunt’s poetry and authored biographical works about her in the 1920s and 1930s. She continued to live in the house, and preserved it without change, until her own death in 1943. Her heirs – co-editor Alfred Leete Hampson, and later his widow, Mary Landis Hampson – recognized the tremendous historical and literary significance of a site left completely intact and sought ways to ensure the preservation of The Evergreens as a cultural resource. The house is still completely furnished with Dickinson family furniture, household accouterments, and decor selected and displayed by the family during the nineteenth century.

“Reintroducing The Evergreens to our interpretive program has been a long-awaited step,” says Senior Director of Programs Brooke Steinhauser. “The condition of the house is uniquely evocative of the lives lived there. We can share more fully with visitors the stories not just of the poet’s daily inspiration stemming from these family relationships, but also the remarkable way her poetry came to the world posthumously and the motivations of the extraordinary people who recognized her genius and dedicated their lives to sharing it.”  

During the past few years, there has been renewed and growing interest in Emily Dickinson and her social circle, especially her sister-in-law Susan Dickinson. The Museum expects the reopening of The Evergreens to attract visitors from around the globe to visit this one-of-a-kind historic site in Amherst, MA.

Beginning March 1, the Emily Dickinson Museum will be open from Wednesday-Sunday, 10am-5pm ET. Admission tickets provide access to both the Homestead and The Evergreens. Visitors are encouraged to purchase their tickets in advance: EmilyDickinsonMuseum.org/Visit/


For press-approved images: 
emilydickinsonmuseum.widencollective.com/portals/hhdfvat3/EvergreensReopening2024

ABOUT THE EMILY DICKINSON MUSEUM

The Emily Dickinson Museum is dedicated to sparking the imagination by amplifying Emily Dickinson’s revolutionary poetic voice from the place she called home.

The Museum comprises two historic houses—the Dickinson Homestead and The Evergreens in the center of Amherst, Mass.—that were home to the poet (1830-1886) and members of her immediate family during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The Museum was created in 2003 when the two houses merged under the ownership of the Trustees of Amherst College. The Museum is overseen by a separate Board of Governors and is responsible for raising its own operating, program, and capital funds.

SUPPORT FROM

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is an independent federal agency created in 1965. It is one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States.

The Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund (CFF) is an initiative of the state of Massachusetts that makes grants to support the acquisition, design, repair, rehabilitation, renovation, expansion, or construction of nonprofit cultural facilities statewide.

A pen and inkwell sits on Dickinson's writing desk with light cascading through her curtains

Call for Submissions:
Phosphorescence and
Tell It Slant 2024

The Emily Dickinson Museum is now accepting proposals for our 2024 programs: Phosphorescence Contemporary Poetry Series – a virtual event held monthly May-October AND the 12th annual Tell It Slant Poetry Festival, held September 23 – 29! The Museum’s poetry programming features established and emerging poets who represent the diversity of the flourishing contemporary poetry scene and fosters community by placing poetry in the public sphere.

To submit for the Phosphorescence Contemporary Poetry Series and the Tell It Slant Poetry Festival, please complete the submission form linked below and upload all required materials. Only submissions made using our online form and Dropbox folder will be considered. We will not accept email or paper submissions. 

You may submit for one or both events using this form. To submit multiple proposals for a single event, simply fill out the form again. Those submitting proposals for both Phosphorescence and the Poetry Festival may use the form to apply with the same group or with different groups for each event. 

TIMELINE:

All proposals must be submitted by Monday, February 26, 2024, 8am ET.

Phosphorescence Series submissions will be notified of their acceptance status by Friday, April 5. 

Tell It Slant Poetry Festival submissions will be notified of their acceptance status by Tuesday, April 30. 

Participating poets and presenters will be asked to sign a letter of agreement confirming participation on assigned dates.

This submission window is now closed.

Learn more about each program below.


About Phosphorescencea banner for PHOSPHORESCENCE Contemporary Poetry Series

Produced by the Emily Dickinson Museum, the Phosphorescence Contemporary Poetry Series celebrates contemporary creativity that echoes Dickinson’s revolutionary poetic voice. The Series is a place to connect virtually over a shared love of poetry and an appreciation for Dickinson’s literary legacy. This year, poets may read remotely from the location of their choice or travel to the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst, MA, to have their reading live-streamed to a virtual audience. Poets will indicate their preference for reading location on their submission form.

Featured poets are promoted on the Museum’s event web page, through a mailing list of roughly 25,000 addresses, and through the Museum’s social media. Each participating poet receives a $200 honorarium. There is no fee to submit proposals.

View last year’s Phosphorescence lineup

Watch Phosphorescence on YouTube

READINGS: This program occurs at 6pm ET on the last Thursday of each month. Each reading may feature 2-3 poets. Readings are 15-20 minutes long on average per reader. Poets who submit alone will be paired with other poets if selected. Poets are welcome to promote sales of their books and awareness of other media during the program. (The Museum does not sell books for this series.) Poets should be prepared to engage in a facilitated conversation after their readings. 

The following submission qualities are especially encouraged:

  • Group submissions of up to 3 poets
  • Builds community
  • Features BIPOC and/or LBGTQ+ voices
  • Highlights a connection to Dickinson’s life and legacy
  • Pushes poetic boundaries

Only submissions made using our online form (linked at the bottom of this page) and Dropbox folder will be considered. We will not accept email or paper submissions.

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: Monday, February 26, 2024, 8am ET.

Phosphorescence submitters will be notified of their acceptance status by Friday, April 5. Participating poets will be asked to sign a letter of agreement confirming participation on assigned dates.

About Tell It Slant Poetry Festival

Produced by the Emily Dickinson Museum, the Tell It Slant Poetry Festival celebrates the poetic legacy of Emily Dickinson and the contemporary creativity she continues to inspire from the place she called home. The Festival’s name, “Tell It Slant,” pays homage to Dickinson’s poem, “Tell all the truth but tell it slant.” This title underscores the revolutionary power of poetry to shift our perspective and reveal new truths.

The Festival is a hybrid event, with programs happening in-person at the Museum as well as online, to both in-person and virtual audiences throughout the week of September 23-29. We invite you to “dwell in possibility” and submit your most inventive proposals for in-person or virtual, generative workshops and panels! Submissions for virtual programs should be for live, synchronous content only. Honoraria of $300 are provided per event. There is no fee to submit proposals.

View last year’s Festival schedule.

The Festival Steering Committee especially welcomes the following submission qualities:

  • From groups of 2 – 5 facilitators
  • Generative writing programs
  • Creatively encourage audience participation or foster a strong sense of community
  • Engage young attendees and/or those new to poetry

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: Monday, February 26, 2024, 8am ET.


To submit for the Phosphorescence Contemporary Poetry Series and the Tell It Slant Poetry Festival, please complete the submission form linked below and upload all required materials. Only submissions made using our online form and Dropbox folder will be considered. We will not accept email or paper submissions. 

You may submit for one or both events using this form. To submit multiple proposals for a single event, simply fill out the form again. Those submitting proposals for both Phosphorescence and the Poetry Festival may use the form to apply with the same group or with different groups for each event. 

This submission window is now closed.

TIMELINE:

All proposals must be submitted by Monday, February 26, 2024, 8am ET.

Phosphorescence Series submissions will be notified of their acceptance status by Friday, April 5. 

Tell it Slant Poetry Festival submissions will be notified of their acceptance status by Tuesday, April 30. 

Participating poets and presenters will be asked to sign a letter of agreement confirming participation on assigned dates.


Please direct questions about submissions to EDMprograms@EmilyDickinsonMuseum.org.


 

Emily Dickinson's handwriting on a letter and envelope

Poetry Discussion Group Spring 2024 Series

Emily Dickinson's handwriting on a letter and envelopeSOLD OUT

Join us for a lively virtual discussion of Emily Dickinson’s poetry and letters, meeting once a month from February to May. This program is designed to welcome newcomers and seasoned readers of Dickinson alike. 

Each session is facilitated by a guest scholar with unique expertise, who leads the group in discussion following an introductory talk. Brief reading handouts will be distributed prior to each month’s program.

Topics and Leaders:
  • February: “Oh Sumptuous moment / Slower go”: Dickinson, Desire, and Temporal Dislocation with Emily Coccia
  • March: Emily Dickinson’s “Tempest” with Melba Jensen
  • April: “Emily Dickinson and the Invention of Faith” with Emily Seelbinder
  • May: Dickinson and Disability Poetics with Clare Mullaney  
Format

As a registrant, you are signing up to join a small group of 25 or fewer regular participants for four 90-minute zoom sessions. Meetings are participatory, with video and audio encouraged. Because we want everyone to feel comfortable speaking, full sessions will not be recorded. The program is designed for adult audiences (18+).

Registration

We are offering an identical program for Wednesday and Friday groups. Please review the dates carefully — space is limited.
Refunds are not available for this program.

Wednesday Group (SOLD OUT), $100 program fee (inclusive of all sessions),  limited to 25 participants
February 21, 6-7:30pm ET
March 20, 6-7:30pm ET
April 24, 6-7:30pm ET
May 22 6-7:30pm ET

Friday Group (SOLD OUT), $100 program fee (inclusive of all sessions), limited to 25 participants
February 23, 12-1:30pm ET
March 22, 12-1:30pm ET
April 26, 12-1:30pm ET
May 24, 12-1:30pm ET

Optional Meet & Greet for both groups: Wednesday, February 7 from 6-6:45pm

For Educators:
Educators may request a certificate attesting to your participation in the program. Those interested may attend an additional session on May 29 from 6 to 7 to discuss curricular connections and ideas with fellow educators.

Reservations are made on a first-come, first-served basis.

Questions: Don’t hesitate to reach out at edmprograms@emilydickinsonmuseum.org with any questions about the program.

FEBRUARY

“Oh Sumptuous moment / Slower go”: Dickinson, Desire, and Temporal Dislocation
In the third season of Apple TV+’s Dickinson (2019-21), the poet finds herself transported out of her nineteenth-century context and into the 1950s, where a young Sylvia Plath provides Emily Dickinson with the words and inspiration to come out to her sister Lavinia. Although the time travel plotline is obviously fictional, there persists an image of Dickinson as a figure out of time—or out least out of temporal lockstep with her nineteenth-century moment. This discussion will consider both the ways Dickinson has been represented in relationship to her historical context and how she herself wrote about temporality. From seconds and moments to eternity and
infinity, Dickinson’s poems and letters abound with mentions of time and duration. Together, we will explore the different ways time is felt and experienced in individual works, paying particular attention to how Dickinson uses words to create “world enough and time” for her own queer desires.

Emily Coccia is a Ph.D. candidate in the joint program in English and Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Michigan. Focusing on nineteenth-century genres of working-class and mass-popular literature, her research asks how American workingwomen’s creative reception practices allowed them to envision queer futures and to cultivate spaces for pleasure and intimacy. Her writing has appeared in journals including Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers, Transformative Works and Cultures, and the Emily Dickinson Journal.

MARCH

Emily Dickinson’s “Tempest”
In William Shakespeare’s play The Tempest, the deposed Duke Prospero chooses between practicing his alchemical arts in exile and returning to govern Milan. In exile, he uses poetry, music, and language to control his dependents–enchanting his daughter Miranda with a pageant of divine love while thwarting his servants’, Ariel and Caliban, desire for freedom. In this discussion, we’ll trace how Dickinson alludes to these characters and their experience of poetry in four poems about the power of poetry. Participants do not need to read The Tempest to appreciate these poems or enjoy the discussion, but we will share resources for accessing the play and discussing the plot.

Melba Jensen has taught English, computer literacy, and mathematics to college students and high school students since 1986. She completed her Ph.D. in English with an emphasis in nineteenth-century American Literature at the University of Massachusetts in 2005. She has been a lecturer in American Literature at the University of Massachusetts and is a guide at the Emily Dickinson Museum.

APRIL

Emily Dickinson and the Invention of Faith
Though Emily Dickinson may not fit traditional molds for religious persons, in her own time or in ours, she was clearly fascinated by spiritual matters, and she explored such matters from differing, often contradictory points of view. Many readers/scholars have attempted to codify Dickinson’s religious perspective. Much has been made of her assertion to T. W. Higginson that her family was “religious” but she herself was not (L261), of her apparent practice of keeping the Sabbath by “staying at Home” (J324/Fr236/M 115), of her correspondence with several clergymen and her obvious interest in good preaching, and of her many statements expressing both belief and unbelief in poems, letters, and biographical anecdote. She has been claimed as both Catholic and Protestant, Calvinist and anti-Calvinist, firm believer and lifelong skeptic. She has also been identified as a mystic, an antinomian, and an existentialist. There is evidence in Dickinson’s life and work both to confirm and to disprove these claims. Adding to the difficulty for readers is Dickinson’s fondness for ambiguity and paradox, as well as her use of voices that contradict each other when poems on similar subjects are compared side by side. As we discuss
some of these poems, we will not attempt to pin Dickinson down. Instead, we will find a rich and diverse consideration of faith, scripture, theology, prayer, and other spiritual practices that likely will raise more questions than answers and spur us to explore these matters further in our reading of Dickinson and other poets.

Emily Seelbinder served as a Professor of English at Queens University of Charlotte from 1989 until her retirement as a Professor Emerita in 2019. Though she cultivated a reputation there as “the Meanest, Baddest English Teacher on the Planet,” she received the Fuqua Distinguished Educator Award twice and, in 2007, the Hunter-Hamilton Love of Teaching Award. At Queens she developed courses on African American literature and culture and on the U. S. Civil War and American Literature, as well as an interdisciplinary course entitled “Emily Dickinson and Her Descendants.” A self-proclaimed “Dickinson Evangelist” and longtime member of the Emily Dickinson International Society (EDIS) and of the Emily Dickinson Museum, she has frequently led workshops and discussions for high school students, book clubs, public library gatherings, church groups, senior citizens, and the Road Scholars programs of the North Carolina Humanities Council. In 2011 and 2014, she was a member of the faculty for the Museum’s NEH Landmarks of American History and Culture Summer Seminars for K-12 teachers. Her scholarly work has long focused on Dickinson’s use—and abuse—of scripture and on how contemporary composers “read” Dickinson through music. Her publications include a chapter on Dickinson’s Bible in Dickinson in Context (2003), essays in the EDIS Bulletin about musical settings of Dickinson’s work, and, in the Emily Dickinson Journal, an essay on “Teaching Emily Dickinson in the Trenches” (1999) and a review of Divide Light Opera Film (2022).

MAY

Dickinson and Disability Poetics
Description forthcoming.

Clare Mullaney’s research and teaching work at the intersection between nineteenth- and early twentieth-century U.S. literature, disability studies, and material text studies. Her book project, American Imprints: Disability and the Material Text, argues that acknowledging texts as made objects brings into focus how turn-of-the-century authors grapple with physical and mental impairments at the level of textual form. Her work has received awards from the American Antiquarian Society, the Emily Dickinson International Society, the Library Company of Philadelphia, the New York Public Library, the Society for Disability Studies, and the Society for Nineteenth-Century Americanists. She is currently a junior member of the Andrew W. Mellon Society of Fellows in Critical Bibliography and has previously taught at Bryn Mawr and Hamilton Colleges.

 

the Evergreens surrounded by beautiful fall trees

Duties beautifully done:
A Dickinson Birthday Celebration
Monday, Dec. 11, 6pm ET

VIRTUAL PROGRAM
This free event has limited capacity, we encourage you to register in advance.

REGISTER

the Evergreens surrounded by beautiful fall treesIn an obituary for Emily Dickinson, her sister in law, Susan Dickinson wrote of the poet’s many “duties beautifully done.” In the wake of Emily’s death, Susan’s own sense of duty and that of her daughter Martha, and Martha’s heir Mary Hampson, preserved the family’s memories of the poet as well as her material legacy. These women of The Evergreens left their own legacies of duty and devotion evident in the condition of the uniquely preserved house today. 

In celebration of Emily Dickinson’s 193rd birthday, and of the 2024 reopening of The Evergreens at the Emily Dickinson Museum, this virtual program invites you into Susan’s, Martha’s, and Mary’s home, only ever lived in by the Dickinsons or their heirs until 1986. Join Jane Wald, Jane and Robert Keiter Family Executive of the Museum, and Martha Nell Smith, co-editor of Open Me Carefully, Dickinson scholar and Distinguished Scholar-Teacher Professor of English at the University of Maryland, as they remember the house during and shortly after the life of its last resident Mary Hampson, who was a mere one-degree of separation removed from Emily Dickinson herself.

All are welcome to this free VIRTUAL program. Space is limited, register in advance.


Give a Birthday Gift
It’s not a birthday party without gifts! If you’re looking to honor Emily Dickinson with a birthday present, please consider a donation to the Museum to support our free virtual programs which are made possible with your support. Gifts of all sizes are deeply appreciated.

DONATE


About Dickinson’s Birthday

Emily Dickinson, the middle child of Edward Dickinson and Emily Norcross Dickinson, was born on December 10, 1830, in the family Homestead on Main Street in Amherst, Massachusetts, now the home of the Emily Dickinson Museum. She celebrated 55 birthdays before her death in 1886. Some of the poet’s most favored themes were time and immortality; she wrote, “We turn not older with years, but newer every day.” (Johnson L379)

Graphic for Emily Dickinson's 193rd birthday. Dickinson is photoshopped to stand in front of ballons and big text with the numbers 193.

SOLD OUT – Emily Dickinson 193rd Birthday Open House
Sat., Dec. 9, 1-4:30pm ET

IN-PERSON PROGRAM at the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst, MA

Please note, due to limited capacity in the Homestead, this free program is SOLD OUT. Walk-ups without tickets will be admitted as space is available.
We encourage you to sign-up for our e-newsletter to be the first to know about upcoming programs: 
emilydickinsonmuseum.org/newsletter-signup/

Want to celebrate Dickinson’s birthday? Join us for the VIRTUAL celebration:
Duties beautifully done: A Dickinson Birthday Celebration [Virtual]
Graphic for Emily Dickinson's 193rd birthday. Dickinson is photoshopped to stand in front of balloons and big text with the numbers 193.

You are cordially invited to the Emily Dickinson Museum’s in-person celebration of the poet’s 193rd birthday! On Saturday, December 9, join us at the Homestead for a free open house with tours, crafts, music, cider and gingerbread cookies!

All are welcome to this free program. Can’t make it to Amherst? Stay tuned for the announcement of our virtual birthday celebration!


Give a Birthday Gift
It’s not a birthday party without gifts! If you’d like to honor Emily Dickinson on her birthday, please consider a donation to the Museum to support our free programs which are made possible with your support. Gifts of all sizes are deeply appreciated.

DONATE


About Dickinson’s Birthday

Emily Dickinson, the middle child of Edward Dickinson and Emily Norcross Dickinson, was born on December 10, 1830, in the family Homestead on Main Street in Amherst, Massachusetts, now the home of the Emily Dickinson Museum. She celebrated 55 birthdays before her death in 1886. Some of the poet’s most favored themes were time and im/mortality; she wrote, “We turn not older with years, but newer every day.” (Johnson L379)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Core Founders

Twenty years ago, the Trustees of Amherst College, owner of the Dickinson Homestead, accepted the transfer of the assets and property of the Martha Dickinson Bianchi Trust, owner of The Evergreens. So began the Emily Dickinson Museum – a visionary combination of the home where Emily Dickinson created some of the most powerful and enduring poetry in the English language and the remarkable material legacy filling The Evergreens. The two family homes and grounds are the very heart of Dickinson’s vast “circumference.”

The Dickinson Homestead as it appeared during Emily Dickinson's adult lifetime

Across these two decades, the Museum has built its annual audience from 7,000 to 20,000 and has established a significant global presence with online programming that reaches participants from more than eighty countries. An annual slate of fifty public programs examines the poetry of Emily Dickinson and influences upon it, explores elements of nineteenth-century life, features new Dickinson scholarship, and celebrates the contemporary creativity that Dickinson’s legacy continues to inspire.

A collection of approximately 8,500 objects – the largest non-manuscript holding in the world of original Dickinson family possessions – has been catalogued and made publicly accessible. The Museum has undertaken progressive stabilization and preservation measures leading now to restoration of the houses and grounds as they were in Dickinson’s own time.

These accomplishments were put in motion and sustained by an extraordinary group of imaginative, farsighted, and determined individuals we are pleased to recognize as the founders of the Emily Dickinson Museum.


Elizabeth (Lise) Armstrong grew up in Westchester County NY, graduated (1958) from Radcliffe College and spent her early adult years in child-raising and community activities. Upon moving to Amherst in 1995 she quickly became involved with “all things Emily”, helping to restore the Evergreens and enjoying events at the Homestead.  She has offered seminars on poetry and poets with the Five College Learning in Retirement program, most recently studying Robert Frost, Seamus Heaney, Sonnets and poetry performance.  And of course the poetry of Emily Dickinson continues to be a lifelong challenge.

John Armstrong moved to Amherst in 1995 after John’s retirement from IBM as VP of Science and Technology. John has both an AB (1956) and PhD (1961) in physics from Harvard. His interest in poetry predates his interest in physics by at least a decade. John has been a member of the Harvard Board of Overseers, a presidentially appointed member of the National Science Board, and a trustee of the University of Massachusetts system. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

Cindy Dickinson served as Curator/Director of the Dickinson Homestead from 1996 until 2003, when the Emily Dickinson Museum was created.  From 2003 to 2015, she held various positions at the Museum, including Director of Interpretation and Programming,  Since 2015 she has been the Director of Education at Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. She is not related to the poet.

Kent Faerber is a graduate of Amherst College and was its Alumni Secretary and then Secretary for Alumni Relations and Development (Chief Advancement Officer) for 17 years, consulting for it thereafter. He completed his professional career as the President of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts.  Throughout, he has consistently volunteered in leadership roles for a variety of charities, one of the most important of which was the Emily Dickinson Museum. At the request of the College, he authored a consulting report listing the assets that would be available if The Evergreens and The Homestead were combined into a single museum, and thereafter became a Trustee of the Martha Dickinson Bianchi Trust (which owned The Evergreens). He then worked with the other Founders being recognized to execute the transfer of The Evergreens to the College, and the establishment of the Museum.  He served as the second Chair of its Board of Governors from 2006 – 2012. 

Thomas R. Gerety was Amherst College’s President from 1994-2003. Gerety has been a leader in several national education organizations, serving as chair of the Consortium on Financing Higher Education, a group of the nation’s best private universities and colleges. At Amherst, he was a professor of philosophy and taught a First-Year Seminar on “Inner City America,” in which students volunteer at social service agencies in Amherst and Holyoke.  From 1989 to 1994, Gerety was president of Trinity College in Hartford, Conn.  Before assuming the presidency at Trinity, Gerety was dean of the College of Law at the University of Cincinnati. Earlier, he was a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh and a visiting professor of constitutional law and jurisprudence at Stanford Law School. Gerety holds a J.D. from Yale Law School. He also earned doctorate and masters degrees in philosophy from Yale.

Julie Harris (d) was a Tony-, Emmy- and Grammy-winning actress and an Academy Award nominee, Julie Harris distinguished herself early in her diverse career a model for perseverance in the American entertainment industry. Though she made her Broadway debut in the forgotten 1945 flop, “It’s a Gift,” Harris returned to the Great White Way in a string of critical successes, drawing raves for her lead roles in “The Member of the Wedding” in 1951 and “I Am a Camera” the following year. In Hollywood, Harris coaxed a charismatic but inexperienced James Dean through his film debut in Elia Kazan’s “East of Eden” (1955) and later specialized in neurotic older woman roles, from the psychic spinster of “The Haunting” (1964) to the self-mutilating Southern belle of “Reflections in a Golden Eye” (1969). As lead roles in film dried up, Harris dove into work on stage and television, where she recreated several of her theatrical successes, including “The Belle of Amherst” (1976) and “The Last of Mrs. Lincoln” (1976). A diagnosis of breast cancer did not stop Harris from becoming a series regular on the long-running primetime soap opera “Knots Landing” (CBS, 1979-1993), nor did a stroke in 2001 keep the elderly actress from plying her trade by sculpting her characterizations around her physical limitations. Awarded the National Medal of the Arts in 1994, Harris was also the recipient of a 2002 Tony Award for lifetime achievement and a 2005 citation from the Kennedy Center for contributions to American culture through the performing arts. Julie Harris died at the age of 87 in August 2013.

Polly Longsworth moved to Amherst in the 1960s, she was astonished to discover that town residents still debated—even over the vegetable bins in the supermarket—the rights and wrongs of a passionate affair that Emily Dickinson’s brother sustained with the young wife of an Amherst College faculty member. Her research led to the publication, in 1984, of Austin and Mabel: The Amherst Affair and Love Letters of Austin Dickinson and Mabel Loomis Todd, named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.

In subsequent years, Longsworth continued to write about the Dickinson family, expertly weaving together the threads of community and individual history in The World of Emily Dickinson and The Dickinsons of Amherst (with Jerome Liebling, Christopher Benfey and Barton Levi St. Armand). Ultimately, she was asked to chair the Martha Dickinson Bianchi Trust, owner of Austin’s former home, The Evergreens.

Longsworth was instrumental in the creation, in 2003, of the Emily Dickinson Museum, which encompasses both The Evergreens and the adjacent Dickinson Homestead—long held as separate trusts—and was elected the founding chair of the new institution’s board of governors. “She instinctively understood that combining the two historic sites would strengthen them both and better serve the public,” says museum director Jane Wald. Under Longsworth’s leadership, the museum developed a master plan for preservation and restoration, successfully completed its first capital campaign, expanded its hours and created a unified visitor experience, significantly enhancing its educational mission and widening its circle of supporters in the process.

A 1955 graduate of Smith College, where she edited the campus news­paper, Longsworth later worked in publishing and began writing her first of several books for adolescents in 1958. Her biographical research and writing continued amid raising four children and assisting in the demanding public life of her husband, Charles Longsworth ’51, who served as president of Hampshire College and subsequently of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

Charles R. Longsworth, class of 1951, is chairman emeritus of the college’s Board of Trustees. He served as president of Hampshire College (1971-1977) and coauthored with former Hampshire president, Franklin Patterson, The Making of a College: Plans for a New Departure in Higher Education. From 1977 to 1992, he served as president of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and then CEO and chairman (1991-1994). In 1993, he became director of Saul Centers Inc.

George Monteiro was a graduate of Cumberland High School, Brown University (A.B. and Ph.D.) and Columbia University (A.M.).  The son of Portuguese immigrant mill workers, George taught American literature at Brown for 42 years, retiring in 1998, and was also founding Director of the Center for Portuguese and Brazilian Studies.  The author of more than 30 books and hundreds of articles on American and Portuguese literature and culture, he was also an accomplished poet.  George was a Fullbright professor of American Literature at the University of Sao Paulo and was knighted by the Portuguese Government with the Order of Prince Henry the Navigator for Distinguished Contributions to the Study and Dissemination of Portuguese Culture.

Leslie A. Morris is Gore Vidal Curator of Modern Books and Manuscripts, Houghton Library, Harvard University. As curator of the Harvard Emily Dickinson Collection, she has overseen the digitization of that collection to make it more widely available, and furthers access to Dickinson’s poetry as General Editor of the online Emily Dickinson Archive, a collaborative project with 13 libraries to make images of Dickinson’s manuscripts freely available. She is the author of the historical Forword to Emily Dickinson’s Herbarium (Belknap Press, 2007), as well as numerous articles on book collecting and bookselling. Her other curatorial responsibilities include oversight of Houghton’s post-1800 collections, including the papers of John Keats, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Jamaica Kincaid, Andrei Sakharov, and John Updike (among others) and the LSD Library, a large multi-format collection of material on altered states of mind.

Barton St. Armand received 3 degrees from Brown University, AB 1965, MA 1966, PHD 1968 — all in the department of American Civilization, of which he eventually become the chair. He also served stints as a Fulbright Professor of American Literature at the Universities of Sophia, Rikkyo and Waseda in Japan and as a French National Scholar at the University of Toulouse. He has lectured around the world under the auspices of the U.S. State Department and was invited to be a special lecturer at Capital University in Beijing, China. HIs scholarly work has focused on interdisciplinary cross-cultural connections, in particular the intersection of American painting with literature. 

William McC Vickery (d) was born in Savannah, Ga., Bill attended Ridgewood High School in New Jersey. At Amherst he majored in economics and graduated cum laude. After earning an MBA from Harvard Business School, he launched a 27-year career in advertising with Dancer Fitzgerald Sample in New York City. In 1987 Vickery retired as vice chair of the company’s board and chair of DFS International. Throughout his career in advertising in New York, Bill served in a dazzling number of volunteer roles for the College: he was class agent, class president, president of the New York alumni association, member and chair of the executive committee of the Alumni Council, President of the Society of the Alumni, and chair of the Alumni Fund. It is no surprise that the College awarded him the Medal for Eminent Service in 1979 and the Distinguished Service Award in 1983.

Philip S. Winterer was a Trustee of Amherst College (1993-2010) and is a Life Trustee (2005-present). Philip is a retired senior partner and former managing partner with the law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton, one of the country’s most prominent and selective corporate law firms.  He joined the firm as an associate after earning his law degree at the Harvard Law School in 1956.  He was elected partner in 1965. He was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Law Institute.

Karen Sánchez-Eppler is L. Stanton Williams 1941 Professor of American Studies and English at Amherst College where she has taught since 1988, including the frequent pleasure of teaching a seminar on Emily Dickinson in collaboration with the Emily Dickinson Museum, a class that often meets in the poet’s house. She served on advisory committees for the care of the Dickinson Homestead for a decade before the Emily Dickinson Museum was founded, was part of the Museum’s founding Board of Governors, and has served on the Emily Dickinson Museum Board for all but four years since. The author of Touching Liberty: Abolition, Feminism and the Politics of the Body (1993) and Dependent States: The Child’s Part in Nineteenth-Century American Culture (2005), and co-editor with Cristanne Miller of The Oxford Handbook of Emily Dickinson (2022). She is currently working on two book projects The

Unpublished Republic: Manuscript Cultures of the Mid-Nineteenth Century US and In the Archives of Childhood: Playing with the Past. Her scholarship has been supported by grants from the NEH, ACLS, the Newberry Library, the Winterthur Library, the Stanford Humanities Center, and the Fulbright Foundation. She spent the 2019-20 academic year as Distinguished Scholar in Residence at the American Antiquarian Society, is one of the founding co-editors of The Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth, past President of C19: The Society of Nineteenth-Century Americanists, President of the Porter- Phelps-Huntington Foundation Board of Directors, and a member of the board of the Emily Dickinson International Society, charged in recent years with organizing the Critical Institute for emerging Dickinson scholars and programing for the Society’s Annual Meeting.

Jane Wald became the first (and only) Director of The Evergreens in 2001 and joined the staff of the Emily Dickinson Museum when it was created in 2001. As executive director since 2006, she has led planning and preservation efforts, particularly  the restoration of the Dickinson Homestead and stabilization of The Evergreens. Her research and writing has focused on the cultural and material context of Dickinson’s life and work, including essays published in The Blackwell Companion to Emily Dickinson, Emily Dickinson Journal, The Oxford Handbook of Emily Dickinson, and Emily Dickinson Electronic Archive. She holds an AB from Bryn Mawr College and an MA from Princeton university, and she completed advanced study at the College of William and Mary.

a view of different items in the Emily Dickinson Museum's collections

The Emily Dickinson Museum Collection

a view of different items in the Emily Dickinson Museum's collections

Press Release 9/13/23
The Emily Dickinson Museum's collection is the largest and most diverse assemblage of objects associated with Emily Dickinson and her family to be found anywhere. It consists of more than 8,000 artifacts, including fine art such as an impressive collection of Hudson River school paintings; cooking, dining, lighting, and heating artifacts; personal items such as children’s toys, handwork, and musical instruments; souvenir objects and art from travels abroad; and a large assortment of clothing and textiles. The collection captures the details of nineteenth-century life in a semi-rural educational and agricultural community and vividly illustrates the daily life and writing habits of one of the world’s greatest poets.

The Museum’s collection had remained largely undocumented and inaccessible until a major grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services in 2019 funded the documentation and baseline cataloging of the entire collection for the very first time. Completed in 2023, this project has improved collection care and, through this database, public access has strengthened the museum’s interpretation, and opened promising new research opportunities.

 

SEARCH THE COLLECTION (external webpage)

FAQS

What is the history of the collections?
The EDM collection comprises the combined personal effects of Dickinson family members from the Dickinson Homestead (built 1813) and The Evergreens (built 1856), left at the latter house after the death of the family’s last heir in 1988. Dickinson’s niece, Martha Dickinson Bianchi, sold the Homestead in 1916 and moved her aunt’s personal belongings and household furnishings next door to her own home at The Evergreens. Bianchi’s heirs transferred manuscript material, books, and a few dozen objects associated with Emily Dickinson to Harvard University in 1950 and Brown University in 1993. The vast majority of Dickinson family possessions remained at The Evergreens, overseen between 1988 and 2003 by a private testamentary trust established in Bianchi’s name. The Trust transferred the property and  collection to Amherst College in 2003 so that the two neighboring Dickinson family houses and collections could be operated as a united Emily Dickinson Museum.

A photo of a women in 19th century clothing in a decorative gold rimmed locket.
Close-up of Emily Dickinson's shawl
Pembroke Style Drop Leaf Table
Daguerreotype of Susan Gilbert Dickinson
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Shawl
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Pembroke Style Drop Leaf Table - Collections
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Where can I find Dickinson manuscripts or other material?

To view Dickinson's manuscripts, visit www.edickinson.org

For information on other Dickinson repositories:

Houghton Library, Harvard University

Amherst College Special Collections

Brown University Library

Yale University Library

Boston Public Library

Amherst Historical Society

Jones Library

Who can I contact with questions?
Email collections@emilydickinsonmuseum.org with any questions about the collections or online catalog.

How can I access the collections?
Physical access to the collections is very limited at this time. Email Collections@EmilyDickinsonMuseum.org with questions.

Use of these images must be approved by the Emily Dickinson Museum.
Please contact us at: Info@EmilyDickinsonMuseum.org

Institute of Museum and Library Services logo

The Emily Dickinson Museum has received funding for collection documentation from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums. They advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grant making, research, and policy development. Their vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov.

a view of different items in the Emily Dickinson Museum's collections

Press Release:
Collections Database

EMILY DICKINSON MUSEUM ANNOUNCES PUBLIC COLLECTION DATABASE AND IMLS GRANT TO CONTINUE DOCUMENTATION PROJECT

The Museum’s collection had remained largely undocumented and inaccessible, but has now been digitized and published for public use for the very first time.

For Immediate Release
Contact: Patrick Fecher
pfecher@emilydickinsonmuseum.org

a view of different items in the Emily Dickinson Museum's collections(Wednesday, September 13, 2023, AMHERST, MA) – Today the Emily Dickinson Museum announces the premiere of its online collection database. The Museum’s collection had remained largely undocumented and inaccessible until a major grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services in 2019 funded the documentation and baseline cataloging of the entire collection for the very first time. This project has improved collection care, providedpublic access to the collection, will strengthen the museum’s interpretation, and open promising new research opportunities.

The Emily Dickinson Museum’s collection is the largest and most diverse assemblage of objects associated with Emily Dickinson and her family to be found anywhere. It consists of more than 8,000 artifacts, including fine art such as an impressive collection of Hudson River school paintings; cooking, dining, lighting, and heating artifacts; personal items such as Edward Dickinson’s wallet, Susan Huntington Gilbert Dickinson’s sewing kit, children’s toys, handwork, and musical instruments; souvenir objects and art from travels abroad; and a large assortment of clothing and textiles. The collection captures the details of nineteenth-century life in a semi-rural educational and agricultural community and vividly illustrates the daily life and writing habits of one of the world’s greatest poets.

Jane and Robert Keiter Family Executive Director Jane Wald says, “This was, for practical purposes, a hidden collection until a grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services allowed us to improve our management of these thousands of Dickinson family objects. It’s a significant accomplishment to celebrate in the Museum’s 20th anniversary year.”

Collections Manager Megan Ramsey says, “Documenting our collection is a huge step in taking better care of our artifacts and providing more access to visitors, researchers, and students. With this new digital resource, the museum is able to share more stories about the lives of the Dickinsons.”

The Institute for Museum and Library Services has awarded the Emily Dickinson Museum additional funding to improve documentation about this collection by digitizing institutional records, including photographs, letters and other information related to the artifacts. These records will help to enhance database entries and provide greater context for the collection. The Emily Dickinson Museum will also survey archival material at other institutions, including Amherst College, Jones Library, Mount Holyoke College, Harvard University, Brown University, and Yale University, in order to gather information on the extent of primary sources related to Museum collections objects. Following an intensive three-year IMLS-funded project to create a foundational and comprehensive catalog database, digitizing collections-related information is the logical next step in documenting the collection and understanding the histories of each object. This project will result in more complete collections information management, enabling the Emily Dickinson Museum to interpret the poet’s life and times more fully, and provide public and scholarly access to an important cultural collection.


To access the Collection database, visit: emilydickinsonmuseum.org/museum-collection

For images, please visit: bit.ly/EDM-Images-Collections-Database


ABOUT THE EMILY DICKINSON MUSEUM

The Emily Dickinson Museum is dedicated to sparking the imagination by amplifying Emily Dickinson’s revolutionary poetic voice from the place she called home.

The Museum comprises two historic houses—the Dickinson Homestead and The Evergreens in the center of Amherst, Mass.—that were home to the poet (1830-1886) and members of her immediate family during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The Museum was created in 2003 when the two houses merged under the ownership of the Trustees of Amherst College. The Museum is overseen by a separate Board of Governors and is responsible for raising its own operating, program, and capital funds.

ABOUT THE INSTITUTE OF MUSEUM AND LIBRARY SERVICES 

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums. We advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. IMLS envisions a nation where individuals and communities have access to museums and libraries to learn from and be inspired by the trusted information, ideas, and stories they contain about our diverse natural and cultural heritage. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov

A close-up of about 30 books collected in the Homestead library

No Frigate Like A Book Club 2023

A close-up of about 30 books collected in the Homestead libraryVIRTUAL PROGRAM

This is a paid program with limited seating. See details below!

Registration for this series is now closed.

Save your seat in the Emily Dickinson Museum’s brand new No Frigate Like A Book Club! In this monthly Zoom-based series, you’ll join fellow enthusiastic readers in discussion of novels inspired by the life of Emily Dickinson. Each month we’ll facilitate exciting conversations using discussion frameworks, followed by a meet and greet with the author! The Club is capped at 30 participants, and break-out rooms will be utilized for a portion of each session to hold smaller group conversations.

Participant expectations:

  • Be prepared to read one book per month in advance of sessions in October, November, and December. Club members should plan to attend all sessions. 
  • Be an active member of the Club, lending your voice to the friendly discussions. 
  • Have access to a computer, tablet, or mobile device that allows for use of audio and video in our web-based conference call. The Book Club experience will be best when all participants keep their videos on. 
  • Computer-generated closed captioning will be available during all sessions.
  • All formats of the books in the series are fine to use, including library loans, used editions, e-readers, etc. 

The 2023 season:

Wednesday, October 18, 12-1PM ET: Optional meet and greet session with fellow Club members
Wednesday, October 25, 4-6PM ET: Emily’s House by Amy Belding Brown
Wednesday, November 29, 4-6PM ET: Because I Could Not Stop for Death by Amanda Flower
Wednesday, December 20, 4-6PM ET: I Heard A Fly Buzz (NEW, forthcoming in November!) by Amanda Flower

About the authors:

Amy Belding Brown is the author of historical novels, including the USA Today bestselling Flight of the SparrowEmily’s House and Mr. Emerson’s Wife. A New England history enthusiast, Amy was infused at an early age with the region’s outlook and values. She graduated from Bates College and received her MFA from Vermont College. She now lives in Vermont with her husband, a retired UCC minister and spiritual director. Distantly related to Emily Dickinson, Amy enjoys reading, cooking, painting, and nature photography when she’s not writing.

Amanda Flower is the USA Today bestselling and Agatha Award-winning mystery author of over forty novels, including the nationally bestselling Amish Candy Shop Mystery Series, Magical Bookshop Mysteries, and, written under the name Isabella Alan, the Amish Quilt Shop Mysteries. Flower is a former librarian, and she and her husband, a recording engineer, own a habitat farm and recording studio in Northeast Ohio.

RESERVE YOUR SPOT

Both ticket options include all three discussion sessions.

  • Adult Ticket: $75
  • Student ticket (College and younger): $60 (current students only, please provide name of institution and graduation year)