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. 

1875, 15 June

Emily Norcross Dickinson suffers a stroke that produces “a partial, lateral paralysis.” The next summer she falls and breaks her hip, becoming permanently bedridden, and requiring further care. For the next seven years, until her death in 1874, Emily and Lavinia cared for their mother in her convalescence. 

 

“…have never seen a daughter so devoted.” (Harriet Jameson, Lavinia’s neighbor, 11-10-[1882], Container 5, Jameson Papers)

A portrait of Judge Otis Phillips Lord, a Dickinson love interest

Late 1870s

Emily Dickinson’s romance with Judge Otis Phillips Lord begins. Dickinson’s relationship with Lord is one among many which continue to intrigue scholars. Dickinson and Lord continue to exchange letters until his death in March 1884. 

 

 

 

 

1856, July 1

Austin Dickinson marries Susan Gilbert in Geneva, New York. A new home for the newlyweds, named the Evergreens, is built by Edward Dickinson to the west of the Homestead. 

Thomas Gilbert (Gib) Dickinson

1875, August 1

Birth of Gilbert (“Gib”) Dickinson, Emily Dickinson’s nephew 

 

“Emily and all that she has are at Sue’s service, if of any comfort to Baby – Will send Maggie, if you will accept her.” (Dickinson, in a message to Susan)

Emily Dickinson homestead, a yellow house, viewed from the sidewalk in autumn

May 1833

The Homestead is sold to the Mack family. The Dickinson family continues to live in the Homestead as tenants of the Macks, living in the eastern half of the house.

Martha Dickinson Bianchi in garden

1914

Emily’s niece Martha Dickinson Bianchi publishes poems sent by her aunt to her mother, Susan Gilbert Dickinson in A Single Hound: Poems of a Lifetime. Martha Dickinson Bianchi would go on to publish many subsequent editions of her aunt’s poetry and letters, renewing the 20th century public’s interest in the life and work of Emily Dickinson.

Handwritten pages

About 1858

Emily Dickinson begins collecting her poems into small packets, today called “fascicles.” This practice continues until 1864. 

 

1881

Mabel Loomis Todd and David Todd move to Amherst. Mabel Loomis Todd later becomes co-editor of the first volumes of Dickinson’s published poetry.