Emily Dickinson 1849

  • One of the greatest and most original poets of all time
A photo of an Emily Dickinson U.S. Postal stamp.

Website Links

One of the most important figures in American poetry, was born in Amherst, Massachusetts, into a prominent family with strong community ties. While attending Amherst Academy, the principal noted Dickinson was “very bright” and “an excellent scholar.” 

She attended Mount Holyoke Seminary (the College’s original name) from 1847 to 1848. At that time the course of study at the Seminary was for three years total, divided into three classes: junior, middle and senior. Dickinson placed in the middle class, based on her entrance exams. If she had chosen to stay, she would have been a graduating member of the class of 1849. 

A prolific writer, Dickinson was considered an eccentric and recluse who rarely greeted guests and didn’t leave her bedroom in later life. Most of her friendships were cultivated through correspondence. During her lifetime only were published.

Common themes explored in Dickinson’s work were death, immortality, spirituality, society and nature. Dickinson continues to be a staple of the American literary canon. Scholars and readers continue to be captivated with her unique life.

Upon her death in 1886, Dickinson’s sister Lavinia discovered an . Emily’s first collection of poetry was published in 1890, but the content was heavily edited. It wasn’t until 1955 that a complete and mostly unaltered collection became available with the publishing of “The Poems of Emily Dickinson.”

Class year: 1849

Happening at Mount Holyoke

Recent Campus News

Christopher Benfey, professor of English at Ƶapp, weighs in on the new show “Dickinson” and its attempts to modernize the famous poet.

In addition to writing expansive poetry, Emily Dickinson had a passion for baking, says MHC English professor Christopher Benfey.

Two recent articles detail the advantages gained by students attending women’s institutions such as Ƶapp.