William Austin Dickinson

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William Austin Dickinson
William Austin Dickinson (1829-1895).jpg
BornApril 16, 1829 Edit this on Wikidata
Amherst Edit this on Wikidata
DiedAugust 16, 1895 Edit this on Wikidata (aged 66)
Amherst Edit this on Wikidata
Resting placeWildwood Cemetery Edit this on Wikidata
Alma mater
Spouse(s)Susan Huntington Gilbert Dickinson Edit this on Wikidata
FamilyLavinia Norcross Dickinson, Emily Dickinson Edit this on Wikidata

William Austin Dickinson (April 16, 1829 – August 16, 1895) was an American lawyer. Known to family and friends as "Austin", he was the older brother of the poet Emily Dickinson.

After graduating from both Williston Seminary and Amherst College, Dickinson taught briefly before pursuing a legal education.[1] He attended Harvard Law School, then joined his father, Edward Dickinson, in his law practice. After his father's death, Austin became treasurer of Amherst College from 1873 until his death. In addition to his law practice and treasury work, Dickinson took part in numerous civic projects and responsibilities, such as moderating the town meetings from 1881 until his death, and acting as president of the Village Improvement Association.[2]

Dickinson married Susan Huntington Gilbert, a friend of his sister Emily from childhood, in 1856. They had three children and resided at the Evergreens, which stood adjacent to the Dickinson Homestead. Aside from his connection to his world-famous sister, Emily, Austin is also known for his longtime affair with Mabel Loomis Todd, a young faculty wife who would eventually edit the first few collections of Emily Dickinson's poetry.


  1. ^ "William Austin Dickinson (1829-1895), brother". Emily Dickinson Museum.
  2. ^ Sewall, p. 117


  • Longsworth, Polly. 1984. Austin and Mabel: The Amherst Affair and Love Letters of Austin Dickinson and Mabel Loomis Todd. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. ISBN 0-374-10716-5.
  • Sewall, Richard B.. 1974. The Life of Emily Dickinson. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. ISBN 0-674-53080-2.