Colonel William A. Phillips

Edward Dickinson (January 1, 1803 – June 16, 1874) was an American politician from Massachusetts. He is also known as the father of the poet Emily Dickinson; their family home in Amherst, the Dickinson Homestead, is now a museum dedicated to her.

Life and career

Signature of Edward Dickinson in a book given to his daughter Emily, 1859

Dickinson, the eldest son of Hon. Samuel Fowler Dickinson and Lucretia (Gunn) Dickinson, was born in Amherst, Massachusetts where he attended public schools and the Amherst Academy. He graduated from Yale College in 1823 and studied at Northampton Law School in Northampton, Massachusetts. He was admitted to the bar and commenced practice in Amherst in 1826. On May 6, 1828 he married Emily Norcross Dickinson (1804–1882); they had three children, William Austin, Emily Elizabeth, and Lavinia Norcross.

Dickinson served as treasurer of Amherst College from 1835 until 1873. He received the honorary degree of LL.D. from Amherst in 1863. He was elected a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives 1838–1839, served in the Massachusetts Senate in 1842–1843, and was a member of the Massachusetts Governor's Council 1846–1847. He then was elected as a Whig to the United States Congress 1853–1855, declined to be a candidate for the Republican nomination of Lieutenant Governor in 1861, and was again elected a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1873. Elected for the main purpose of securing to the town the advantages of the Massachusetts Central Railroad; and after a careful speech in the House, on the morning of June 16, 1874, in the interests of this railroad in connection with the Hoosac Tunnel, he was attacked with apoplexy, and died at his hotel before evening. He is buried in Amherst's West Cemetery.

Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from the Yale Obituary Record.

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U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Zeno Scudder
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 10th congressional district

March 4, 1853 – March 3, 1855
Succeeded by
Calvin C. Chaffee