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Emily Elizabeth Dickinson was born in Amherst Massachusetts on December 10 1830 the second of three children of Edward and Emily Norcross Dickinson Samuel Fowler Dickinson her grandfather had been one of the founders of Amherst College and had built a mansion on Main Street reputed to be the first brick house in Amherst which became known in the family as the Homestead Godden 7 Her father was like his father before him a lawyer Emilys older brother Austin would be a lawyer as well Treasurer of Amherst College for twenty years and in later life a pillar of the Congregationalist Church Edward Dickinson appears to have been as limited emotionally as his wife was intellectually Neither of them was equipped to deal with a genius in the family especially a female genius Aboutcom npag Her brother Austin was bossy but ineffective Her sister Lavinia who never married and lived with Emily was protective of the much shyer sister Enigma npag After several years of primary school Emily attended Amherst Academy from 1840 to 1847 From September 1847 to August 1848 she was a student at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary in South Hadley Massachusetts Encarta npag Despite her interest in her studies especially chemistry her father decided not to send her to Mount Holyoke for an additional year and thus her formal education came to an end Enigma npagHer close friend Susan Huntington later married Emilys brother Austin and Susan and Austin Dickinson moved to a home next door Emily and Susan exchanged ardent and passionate letters over many years Scholars are divided today on the nature of the relationship Some say that the passionate language between women was simply an acceptable norm between friends in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries others find evidence that the EmilySusan friendship was a lesbian relationship Narth npagIn all outward respects Emily Dickinson was in these years indistinguishable from the other young people of Amherst As a lively
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