1883, 5 October

At barely eight years old, Gilbert (“Gib”) Dickinson dies tragically of typhoid fever. Gib was a delightful, intelligent little boy, whose “fascinating ways” and “witty little sayings” charmed everyone. Beyond the great love his father and mother had for him, Gib was also the last hope for Austin and Susan to carry on the Dickinson name. 

 

“Gilbert rejoiced in Secrets – 

His Life was panting with them …

No crescent was this Creature – He traveled from the Full – 

Such soar, but never set …

Without a speculation, our little Ajax spans the whole…” (Dickinson, L800-801) 

Illustration of the Amherst College campus in 1821

1821

Amherst College opens with Samuel Fowler Dickinson as a principle founder. 

1861, April 12

The Civil War begins 

 

Sorrow seems more general than it did, and not the estate of a few persons, since the war began; and if the anguish of others helped one with one’s own, now would be many medicines …” (Dickinson, L436)

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)

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)