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.

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.

 

Image of Dickinson's room featuring her writing desk and white dress

Studio Sessions

Image of Dickinson's room featuring her writing desk and white dress

“Sweet hours have perished here;
This is a mighty room;
Within its precincts hopes have played, –
Now shadows in the tomb.”
-Fr1785

Spend a “sweet hour” in Emily Dickinson’s creative space where she penned her startling poetry and honed her revolutionary voice. Whether you are a writer, an artist, a composer, a poet, or a lover of poetry, you’ll find inspiration in Emily Dickinson’s bedroom. Let this quiet experience jumpstart your next creative journey.

Participants may spend up to two hours in the bedroom. A small table and chair will be provided.  Participants will experience the atmosphere of Dickinson’s corner bedroom, and enjoy the view from the Poet’s windows. 

Program Guidelines:

  • Photo ID must be presented upon arrival for your studio session and a photocopy will be made, which will be destroyed after your session.
  • The door to the bedroom will remain open, and staff will be present outside the room at all times. Participants must remain in the designated area of the historic room. Participants may not touch the historic furnishings in the bedroom.
  • Bags, food, and beverages must be left outside the room.
  • No pens, inks, or paints permitted. Pencil and paper or laptop only. Other materials must be approved by special request in advance.
  • Photography for non-commercial, personal use is permitted.
  • Sessions will not be rescheduled or refunded after booking except in the case of an emergency. Refunding and rescheduling are at the discretion of the Emily Dickinson Museum.

Registration is currently available for sessions through August 2024. Sessions are offered on Mondays and Fridays at 3pm through February, and on Thursdays at 8:30am and Fridays at 5:15pm. Limited availability.

RESERVE YOUR SESSION

 

Pricing: 
1 person for one hour: $300
1 person for 2 hours: $500
2 people for 1 hour: $400
2 people for 2 hours: $600

Please direct questions to EDMPrograms@emilydickinsonmuseum.org.

Purchase of a studio session grants one free Museum admission per studio participant, to be booked during your visit to Amherst. To reserve your timed entry in advance, email connect@emilydickinsonmuseum.org.

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