Abolitionist Movement -
· A social movement organized in the North to abolish
the institution of slavery, upon which the economy of the South depended.
The movement gained most of its influence during the three decades
preceding the Civil War.
Assonant rhyme -
· Repetition of related vowel sounds, or the rhyming
of vowels rather than whole words. Dickinson often used assonant
rhyme in her poetry in order to retain the most apt word choices
for her meanings, rather than picking two words that rhymed but
did not convey meaning most accurately.
· The type of Protestantism that the Dickinsons practiced
in their Amherst church. It differs from other kinds of Protestantism because
of its organization–it allows each congregation control over its
own affairs, rather than centralizing power. It holds to the principle
that God is the true head of each church, not a bishop or other
The Great Revival -
· A religious movement that swept New England around
1850. A renewal of religious conviction and activity, it mandated
a recommitment to Jesus Christ and the tenets of Christianity.
The movement boosted the temperance cause.
· An organized effort that culminated in Prohibition,
its great success. The Temperance movement urged people to abstain from
drinking alcohol. Temperance was a political as well as a social
issue, since proponents of Temperance sought government control
over liquor, not just licensing.
· A philosophical and literary movement popular in New
England between about 1836 and 1860. Its central precepts focus
on the divinity of man and his relationship to nature. It leaned
on the philosophy of Immanuel Kant and the English romantic poets Coleridge
and Wordsworth. In America, Ralph Waldo Emerson was the most prominent
proponent of Transcendentalism.
Martha Dickinson Bianchi
Sue and Austin's daughter, she was Dickinson's niece.
She co-edited a volume of her aunt's poetry.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
One of the most famous poets of the nineteenth century,
English poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning was one of Dickinson's
favorite writers. Browning's long prose poem Aurora Leigh
one of Dickinson's favorite works of fiction and made a huge impact
on her poetry. Dickinson borrowed many images from this work and
expounded upon them in her poems.
and publisher of the Springfield Daily Republican newspaper, which
was one of the most influential newspapers in the country during
the mid 1800s. Bowles was also a good friend of both Austin Dickinson
and Emily Dickinson.
Dickinson's older brother, he married Dickinson's
best friend, Sue Gilbert. A graduate of Amherst College and Harvard
Law School, he later became treasurer of Amherst College and succeeded his
father Edward Dickinson in his law practice.
Dickinson's father, and a lawyer and treasurer of
Amherst College. He was elected to the Massachusetts state legislature
and eventually became a U.S. representative in the Thirty Third
Congressional session (1853–1855).
she was active in the Amherst community and won awards for her cooking
and gardening skills.
Dickinson's younger sister, she discovered Dickinson's
stash of poems after Dickinson's death, and was responsible for
introducing the world to Dickinson's genius. She co-edited three
volumes of Dickinson's poetry.
Dickinson's nephew, he was the son of Sue and Austin.
confidante, and wife to Austin Dickinson. Sue held informal salons
in her parlor and was an avid and intelligent reader. She and Dickinson
were literary kindred spirits and Dickinson sent her many poems
Dickinson's nephew. A precocious child,
he died of typhoid fever at the age of eight.
Eliot was the pseudonym of Marian Evans, a renowned English novelist.
Her novel The Mill on the Floss
was a major influence
on Dickinson's writing, and Eliot's portrait hung on the wall of
Ralph Waldo Emerson
A favorite writer of both Sue Gilbert Dickinson and
Emily Dickinson, Emerson was a major literary figure of the mid-1800s.
Through his essays, poems, and famous lectures, he became the leading voice
of Transcendentalism in America.
of Dickinson's suitors, he was a handsome, well-read student at
Amherst College with whom Dickinson spent a great deal of time.
college friend of Austin's and an early love interest of Dickinson's.
He was a theology student at Amherst College. He was rumored to
have proposed to Dickinson.
Thomas Wentworth Higginson
He was a man of letters and a decorated army lieutenant
who was unusually forward thinking both socially and politically.
He was in favor of women's rights and abolition. The regiment he commanded
during the Civil War was the first black regiment in U.S. military
history. The movie Glory
is based on his book
about his experiences, which is titled Army Life in a Black
He and Emily Dickinson corresponded from 1862
until her death in 1886 and she considered him an indispensable
critic and mentor.
family friend, he was a Springfield doctor with a literary bent.
Holland joined Samuel Bowles on the Springfield Republican,
occasional book reviews. Dickinson enjoyed the Holland home for
its warmth and familial affection.
A young man who worked in Edward Dickinson's law
office, he received a Valentine poem from Dickinson that so impressed
him, he sent it to the Springfield Republican
publication. The poem, Dickinson's first published work, was published anonymously.
The young principal of the grammar school Dickinson
attended, he was a kind, supportive man. Humphrey recognized Dickinson's
intelligence early on, and lent her books from his library. As
she grew old her became a great friend. He died young.
One of Dickinson's
oldest friends, she began writing for publication in the early
1860s. She wrote a number of novels and articles, as well as a work
of nonfiction titled A Century of Dishonor
history of the government's mistreatment of American Indians.
Judge Otis Lord
A prominent lawyer, a political comrade of Edward
Dickinson, and a judge on the bench of Massachusetts' Superior
Court. He and Dickinson became unlikely friends despite their twenty-year
age difference, and hints of a romance emerged after Lord's wife
A friend of Dickinson's in
the late 1840s and early 1850s, he worked in Edward Dickinson's
law firm. Newton was a radical thinker, favoring Transcendentalism
and introducing Dickinson to a number of books and ideas.
Mabel Loomis Todd
One of Dickinson's Amherst neighbors, she was Austin
Dickinson's mistress from the early 1880s until his death. She
was fascinated by Dickinson, though the two never met face to face.
After Dickinson's death, Mabel Todd edited a volume of Dickinson's
poetry called A Bolt of Melody.
Dr. Charles Wadsworth
A brilliant, brooding Presbyterian preacher whom
Dickinson met in Philadelphia during a visit to an old school friend.
The two corresponded by letter for many years, and when Wadsworth
moved to San Francisco, Dickinson fell ill, possibly from the shock
of his departure.
of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, he arrived in Salem from England
in 1630. Winthrop founded the settlement that later became Boston.
Civil War -
The conflict between the Northern and the Southern states, which
seceded and formed the Confederacy. The war lasted from 1861 to
1865 and was one of the bloodiest conflicts in U.S. history, resulting
in over 600,000 deaths.
Dred Scott case -
Officially called Scott v. Sanford, this case was argued
before the United States Supreme Court from 1856–1857. Dred Scott,
a slave from Missouri, accompanied his master to Illinois and then to
the Wisconsin territories, where slavery was illegal. When his master
died, Scott sued his master's widow for his and his family's freedom,
stating that because he was in a free state, he was no longer a
slave. The Supreme Court ruled against Scott. Their decision meant
that Congress had no power to prohibit slavery in new states and
A bill passed by Congress on May 30, 1854, granting statehood to
the Kansas and Nebraska territories. The bill intensified the slave
debate in America because it directly contradicted provisions in
the Missouri Compromise, which barred the extension of slavery
into new states. The legality of slavery, according to this new
law, would be decided by "popular sovereignty"–that is, by the
inhabitants of the territory.
1850 Compromise -
A series of legislative measures meant to assuage Southern
fears that slavery was on the way out, and to reassure Northern
anti-slavery forces that slavery was not going to be extended.
Under this compromise, California was admitted as a free state,
New Mexico and Utah territories were organized with the possibility of
choosing to make slavery legal, and slavery was prohibited in the
newly organized District of Columbia. In addition, the fugitive
slave laws were made more strict.