1890, November 12

Mabel Loomis Todd publishes the first edition of Poems by Emily Dickinson (Boston: Roberts Brothers). The popular reception of this first edition of Poems initiates the publication of the Second Series  (1891) and the Third Series  (1896) of Poems. Mabel Loomis Todd, as editor, publishes Letters of Emily Dickinson in two volumes in 1894. 


1852, December 17

Election of Edward Dickinson as a member of the Whig Party to the United States Congress (1853-1855). Edward represented Massachusetts’ Tenth Congressional District. 


The Dickinson family hires Margaret Maher as their primary domestic help. She would remain with the Dickinsons for thirty years.



Ned Dickinson

1861, June 19

Birth of Edward “Ned” Dickinson, Emily Dickinson’s nephew 


Is it true, dear Sue? 

Are there two?

I shouldn’t like to come 

For fear of joggling Him! 

If you could shut him up

In a Coffee Cup, 

Or tie him to a pin

Till I got in – 

Or make him fast 

To “Toby’s” fist –

Hist! Whist! I’d come!” (Dickinson, Fr189)

1874, June 16

Edward Dickinson dies in a Boston boarding house following his collapse while giving a speech in the Massachusetts state legislature. Edward’s death away from Amherst strikes Emily Dickinson and the rest of the Dickinson family as particularly tragic; the family has been robbed of a proper goodbye, all together, left only with the “Silence” of death. 


There marauds a sorer Robber – 

Silence -” (Dickinson, Fr1315)

Early 1860s

Emily Dickinson’s reclusiveness increases. While the origin of this departure from social life is specifically unknown, Dickinson’s withdrawal from society also marks the beginning of one of her most productive times, artistically. 


“A Charm invests a face 

Imperfectly beheld – 

The Lady dare not lift her Vail – 

For fear it be dispelled – 

But peers beyond her mesh – 

And wishes – and denies – 

Lest interview – annul a want – 

That Image – satisfies-” (Dickinson, Fr430A)

1855, November

Following the death of David Mack, the Dickinson family purchases and returns to the Homestead on Main Street. Edward Dickinson remodels the house and constructs a small conservatory for Emily and Lavinia.