After completing her schooling at Amherst Academy, Dickinson attended Mount Holyoke Female Seminary for one year. On November 6, 1847, she wrote to her friend Abiah Root, telling her, “I am really at Mt Holyoke Seminary & this is to be my home for a long year. . . It has been nearly six weeks since I left home & that is a longer time, than I was ever away from home before now. I was very homesick for a few days & it seemed to me I could not live here. But I am now contented & quite happy. . .” (L18). Mount Holyoke’s curriculum was innovative, emphasizing physical exercise and individual discovery through laboratory science. All students were required to help maintain the Seminary by participating in domestic work. Dickinson’s job was to carry, wash, and dry knives at every mealtime.
Emily Dickinson to Abiah Root (L18), November 6, 1847, in The Letters of Emily Dickinson, ed. Thomas H. Johnson (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1965), 1:53.
N/A (Public Domain)