The Evergreens (1856)

The Evergreens is a house in Amherst built in 1856 by Edward Dickinson for his his son, William Austin Dickinson, who had just married Susan Huntington Gilbert. Austin Dickinson was a lawyer and succeeded his father as treasurer of Amherst College, serving from 1874 until his death in 1895. He is also known for his longtime affair with Mabel Loomis Todd, who would edit early collections of poetry written by Austin’s sister, Emily Dickinson. The Italianate-style Evergreens, designed by Northampton architect William Fenno Pratt, was built next to the Dickinson Homestead, where Emily resided with her sister, Lavinia. The Evergreens became a social and cultural center in the town. After Austin and Sarah Dickinson died (the latter in 1913), the house was lived in and preserved by their daughter, Martha Dickinson Bianchi (died 1943), who left the house to her secretary, Alfred Leete Hampson, stipulating in her will that if Hampson and his family chose not to live in the house, it should be torn down. Hampson’s widow, Mary Landis Hampson, made arrangements in her own will to preserve the house under a trust for public use. Since 2003, it has been owned by Amherst College and, along with the Emily Dickinson Homestead, forms part of the Emily Dickinson Museum.

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