A Survey of Emily Dickinson's Family Artifacts

Emily Dickinson is probably literature’s most notorious shut-in — after all, the woman didn’t leave her family compound for a full 20 years — so we’re always fascinated by the details of her strange and (we imagine) lonely life. Recently, we came across this collection of family artifacts from the Dickinson family estate, curated by Harvard University, and we’ve been poring over them ever since. Something about the fact that she never left the house lends her personal things a more meaningful tone — she spent every day surrounded by these things, and her experiences were so limited that we find ourselves looking for answers in every teacup. Click through to see a few of the most interesting objects from the Harvard College Library’s collection, and let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Photo Credit: Dickinson Family Artifacts (Dickinson Room). Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Bowfront chest of drawers, kept in Emily Dickinson’s bedchamber. After Emily’s death, her sister Lavinia discovered hundreds of her poems in the bottom drawer.