Emily Dickinson

Born Dec 10, 1830

Emily Elizabeth Dickinson was an American poet. Born in Amherst, Massachusetts, to a successful family with strong community ties, she lived a mostly introverted and reclusive life. After she studied at the Amherst Academy for seven years in her youth, she spent a short time at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary before returning to her family's house in Amherst.… Read More

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1830 Birth Emily Elizabeth Dickinson was born at the family's homestead in Amherst, Massachusetts, on December 10, 1830, into a prominent, but not wealthy, family. … Read More
1840 9 Years Old On September 7, 1840, Dickinson and her sister Lavinia started together at Amherst Academy, a former boys' school that had opened to female students just two years earlier. … Read More


1845 - 1847 2 More Events
1848 17 Years Old Whatever the specific reason for leaving Holyoke, her brother Austin appeared on March 25, 1848, to "bring her home at all events". … Read More
1849 18 Years Old …  Her brother smuggled a copy of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's Kavanagh into the house for her (because her father might disapprove) and a friend lent her Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre in late 1849. … Read More
1850 19 Years Old In early 1850, Dickinson wrote that "Amherst is alive with fun this winter... … Read More


1855 24 Years Old 1 More Event
Until 1855, Dickinson had not strayed far from Amherst. … Read More
1856 25 Years Old Sue married Austin in 1856 after a four-year courtship, though their marriage was not a happy one. … Read More
Writing to a friend in summer 1858, Emily said that she would visit if she could leave "home, or mother. … Read More


1862 31 Years Old 1 More Event
Dickinson's decision to contact Higginson suggests that by 1862 she was contemplating publication and that it may have become increasingly difficult to write poetry without an audience. … Read More
1866 35 Years Old In direct opposition to the immense productivity that she displayed in the early 1860s, Dickinson wrote fewer poems in 1866. … Read More
1867 36 Years Old Around this time, Dickinson's behavior began to change. She did not leave the Homestead unless it was absolutely necessary and as early as 1867, she began to talk to visitors from the other side of a door rather than speaking to them face to face. … Read More
1868 37 Years Old When Higginson urged her to come to Boston in 1868 so that they could formally meet for the first time, she declined, writing: "Could it please your convenience to come so far as Amherst I should be very glad, but I do not cross my Father's ground to any House or town". … Read More
1869 38 Years Old Although the household servant of nine years, Margaret O Brien, had married and left the Homestead that same year, it was not until 1869 that her family brought in a permanent household servant, Margaret Maher, to replace the old one. … Read More


1872 41 Years Old Otis Phillips Lord, an elderly judge on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court from Salem, in 1872 or 1873 became an acquaintance of Dickinson's.
1874 43 Years Old On June 16, 1874, while in Boston, Edward Dickinson suffered a stroke and died. … Read More
1877 46 Years Old After the death of Lord's wife in 1877, his friendship with Dickinson probably became a late-life romance, though as their letters were destroyed, this is surmised. … Read More
1880 49 Years Old In 1880 he gave her Cowden Clarke's Complete Concordance to Shakespeare (1877). … Read More


1882 51 Years Old 1 More Event
Two years before this, on April 1, 1882, Dickinson's "Shepherd from 'Little Girl'hood", Charles Wadsworth, also had died after a long illness. … Read More
1884 53 Years Old As death succeeded death, Dickinson found her world upended. In the fall of 1884, she wrote that "The Dyings have been too deep for me, and before I could raise my Heart from one, another has come." … Read More
1885 54 Years Old On November 30, 1885, her feebleness and other symptoms were so worrying that Austin canceled a trip to Boston. … Read More
1886 55 Years Old 1 More Event
On May 15, 1886, after several days of worsening symptoms, Emily Dickinson died at the age of 55. … Read More
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