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COLLECTION Identifier: Dickinson Room

Dickinson family artifacts


Furniture, jewelry, drawings, paintings, and other objects that belonged to the Dickinson family of Amherst, Massachusetts. Some objects belonged to the poet Emily Dickinson.


  • Creation: 1785-1880

Physical Description

Extent is approximate.

Conditions Governing Access

The Dickinson Room and many of these objects can be viewed by guided tour Fridays at 2:00 p.m.

Examination of objects in the Houghton Reading Room requires advance notice, and the permission of the curator.

Conditions Governing Use

Images linked to this finding aid are intended for public access and educational use. This material is owned and/or held by the Houghton Library, and is provided solely for the purpose of teaching or individual research. Any other use, including commercial reuse, mounting on other systems, or other forms of redistribution requires the permission of the curator.


20 linear feet (68 items)

These artifacts were selected by Alfred and Mary Hampson in consultation with Library staff. The intent was and is to have on public display those objects most closely associated with Emily Dickinson, and to evoke a sense of the time and place in which her poetry was created. The Dickinson Room, in which these artifacts are displayed, does not recreate any particular room in the Homestead or The Evergreens, although many of the objects were displayed at one time in "The Emily Room" at The Evergreens. That room was created by Martha Dickinson Bianchi, the poet's niece, to memorialize Emily Dickinson.

Biographical / Historical

These objects, most of which are on permanent display in the Dickinson Room at Houghton Library, were included as part of the acquisition of the Dickinson papers in 1950. At the time of the purchase, the artifacts were physically located at The Evergreens, many displayed in "The Emily Room" created by Martha Dickinson Bianchi to memorialize her aunt, the poet Emily Dickinson. Most of these artifacts were originally located at the Dickinson Homestead prior to its sale by Martha Dickinson Bianchi in 1916.


Arranged into the following series:

  1. I. Ceramics
  2. ___A. Blue-and-white earthenware
  3. ___B. White porcelain
  4. II. Furniture
  5. III. Glass
  6. IV. Jewelry
  7. V. Visual materials
  8. VI. Silver and silver plate
  9. VII. Textiles

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from Alfred Leete Hampson with funds given by Gilbert H. Montague, class of 1901, in happy memory of Amy Angell Collier Montague; received: 1950 May.

Some objects were given to the Library after 1950; this is noted with the individual item entries.


Some portrait paintings described in: Stebbins, Theodore. American paintings at Harvard, volume 1: paintings, watercolors, and pastels by artists born before 1826. Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge. Distributed by Yale University Press, New Haven. 2014.

Processing Information

Descriptions prepared by Nan Wolverton, 2007.

Dickinson family, collector. Dickinson family artifacts, circa 1785-1880: Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard College Library
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, archives, and more. Houghton Library's collections represent the scope of human experience from ancient Egypt to twenty-first century Cambridge. With strengths primarily in North American and European history, literature, and culture, collections range in media from printed books and handwritten manuscripts to maps, drawings and paintings, prints, posters, photographs, film and audio recordings, and digital media, as well as costumes, theater props, and a wide range of other objects. Houghton Library has historically focused on collecting the written record of European and Eurocentric North American culture, yet it holds a large and diverse number of primary sources valuable for research on the languages, culture and history of indigenous peoples of the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania.

Houghton Library’s Reading Room is free and open to all who wish to use the library’s collections.

Harvard Yard
Harvard University
Cambridge MA 02138 USA
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