literary sites

Willa Cather's Childhood Home

Willa Cather came to Nebraska from Virginia in 1883 when she was nine years old. The Cather family lived in this home in Red Cloud from 1884 to 1904, a formative period in Cather's development as a writer. Willa Cather describes the house in great detail in her novel The Song of the Lark and her short story “Old Mrs. Harris.” Visitors can see some of her original possessions still displayed there, as well as the family’s household items throughout the home.

The Steinbeck House

Built in 1897 and restored in 1973, this Queen Anne Victorian served as the birthplace and childhood home of John Steinbeck. Today, the house is operated by The Valley Guild as a luncheon restaurant. Tours and private parties are available.

Ralph Waldo Emerson House

Built in 1828, this square frame house served as the home to Ralph Waldo Emerson and his second wife, Lydia Jackson, from 1835 to his death in 1882. Today, the house still contains many of Emerson's personal effects and the home's original furnishings. Guided tours are offered from mid-April to mid-October.


Rowan Oak

Built in 1844, Rowan Oak was the home to William Faulkner and his family for over forty years. The house and its grounds are open to visitors for guided tours, but tour groups are encouraged to make arrangements ahead of time.

Emily Dickinson Museum

The Emily Dickinson Museum comprises two historic houses in the center of Amherst, Massachusetts, associated with the poet Emily Dickinson and members of her family during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The Homestead was the birthplace and home of the poet Emily Dickinson. The Evergreens, next door, was home to her brother Austin, his wife Susan, and their three children. The Museum is open March through December for guided tours, public programs, and other special events.

Edgar Allan Poe Cottage

Built in 1812, this wooden farmhouse was where Edgar Allan Poe spent the last years of his life, from 1846 to 1849. Poe wrote his most famous poetical works here, including "Annabel Lee," "The Bells," and "Eureka." Now restored to its original appearance, along with authentic period furnishings, the Poe Cottage is open to vistors and the general public. Film presentations and guided tours are offered.

Herman Melville’s Arrowhead

Built in 1783, the Arrowhead was the home of Herman Melville for thirteen years. The works Melville wrote at Arrowhead included Moby-Dick, Pierre, The Confidence-Man, Israel Potter, The Piazza Tales, and such short stories as “I and My Chimney,” “Benito Cereno,” “Bartleby the Scrivener,” and “The Paradise of Bachelors and the Tartarus of Maids. Today, the restored farmhouse is open for daily tours. 

Walt Whitman Birthplace

The Walt Whitman Birthplace was built in 1819 by Walter Whitman, father to the poet Walt Whitman. Today the Birthplace house and Interpretive Center offer guided tours, a museum shop and bookstore, picnic facilities, auto-hiking tours of West Hills, concerts, lectures, poetry readings, poetry contests, and a Poet-in-Residence program.

Thomas Wolfe Memorial

Known as "Dixieland" in Look Homeward, Angel, the historic Old Kentucky Home boarding house in Asheville was home to Thomas Wolfe for ten years. Though the house suffered extensive damage in a fire in 1998, it was renovated and reopened to the public in 2004. Today, a modern visitor center is located at 52 North Market Street, directly behind the historic Old Kentucky Home boarding house. The facility houses an exhibit hall featuring personal effects from the Wolfe family home, Wolfe's New York City apartment, and his father's stonecutting shop.

The Mount

Built and designed by Edith Wharton in 1902, The Mount is both a historic site and a center for culture inspired by the passions of the American novelist. The property includes three acres of formal gardens designed by Wharton, who was also an authority on European landscape design, surrounded by extensive woodlands. Programming at The Mount reflects Wharton’s core interests in the literary arts, interior design and decoration, garden and landscape design, and the art of living. Annual exhibits explore themes from Wharton’s life and work.

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