Family Tree Tuesday – Emily Dickinson
American poet Emily Dickinson lived in Amherst, Massachusetts for most of her life. While much of the public was unaware of her writings during her lifetime, Dickinson gained significant prominence after her death. Today, she is one of the most celebrated writers of the 19th century. Her writing style and unconventional use of capitalization and punctuation were unique for the era in which she wrote. Because she lived much of her life in seclusion, Dickinson communicated to most of the people in her life through correspondence. As she recoiled more and more into seclusion in the later years of her life, Dickinson began to piece together much of her work into a manuscript. These manuscripts were not discovered until after her death.
Dickinson was born on December 10, 1830 to Edward Dickinson and Emily Norcross. Her father was a lawyer and politician, who was elected to the United States Congress as a representative from the Whig party. His father, Samuel Fowler Dickinson was a prominent lawyer in Amherst. He played a crucial role in the founding of Amherst College, the third oldest institution of higher education in Massachusetts. In 1830, Samuel had the family Homestead built. It was here that Emily would live for her entire life. Today, the Dickinson Homestead is a historic site and museum in honor of the poet.
Emily was the second of three children. Her older brother, William Austin, was a lawyer and in 1873, served as the treasurer of Amherst College until his death. Her younger sister, Lavinia, played an instrumental roll in publishing Emily’s work after her death.
Check out her family tree and see how you’re related!