Massachusetts played a significant role in American history.
Commercial industries, historical institutions of higher learning and key literary figures have roots here. As such, this beautiful New England state offers several opportunities to visit the homes and writing spaces of some of the most prominent names in American literary history.
Longfellow House: Cambridge, MA
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow called this house located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, his home from 1837 to 1882. Originally built in 1759 by John Vassall, a weathly royalist, the home was abandoned on the night before the start of the Revolutionary war. Years later, Longfellow rented a room in the house while employed at Harvard College. Once he married France Appleton, her father purchased the house for them as a wedding gift and became a significant part of his personal history. The home quickly became a gathering spot for well-known writers and philosophers, including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorn, and Charles Dickens. Descendants of Longfellow’s kept the home in good condition and managed his life’s work until the early 1960s when the home was turned over to the National Park Service.
Information about hours of operation and admission fees can be found online nps.gov/long/index.htm or by calling 617-876-4491.
Ralph Waldo Emerson House: Concord, MA
Ralph Waldo Emerson was one of the most prominent poets and philosophers of his time. In 1835 he and his wife, Lidian, took up permanent residence in the rural community of Concord, Massachusetts. It was at this location that he raised his family and wrote some of his most important works. His choice of Concord as his permanent home helped to establish it a hub for American Transcendentalism and a key place in the literary renaissance. The property, called “Bush”, included the house and two acres of land and played host to many significant literary players of the time. A house fire in the late 1800s nearly destroyed the entire second floor of the structure, but townspeople were able to save the books and manuscripts inside. In the late 1930s the last family member still living in the house, Emerson’s son Edward, died. At the time the Ralph Waldo Emerson Association was established and took ownership of the property and opened it to the public.
Information about hours of operation and admission fees can be found at nps.gov.