Ralph Waldo Emerson House
The Ralph Waldo Emerson House is closed for the season and will reopen on April 30th, 2020.
Every spirit builds itself a house; and beyond its house, a world; and beyond its world a heaven. Know then, that the world exists for you: build, therefore, your own world. Nature, 1836
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
Perhaps America’s best known thinker, Ralph Waldo Emerson led a renaissance in American ideas in the 19th Century: a search to realize the high potential of the individual person, to understand the proper role of the individual in society, and to discover and celebrate the interrelation and sacredness of all life. He was a pragmatist and an idealist, a lecturer, a prolific writer and a poet.
In July 1835 Ralph Waldo Emerson purchased his Concord home, proclaiming it was “the only good cellar that had been built in Concord.” Along with the house, there was a sizable barn, on two acres of land. In addition to housing various animals, the barn was used for over a year as a schoolroom for Miss Foord’s school. The Emerson children attended the school along with Lizzy and Abby Alcott, Lizzy and Barry Goodwin and Caroline Pratt, all from Concord.
The house Emerson brought his bride Lidian to on September 15, 1835 became that “sylvan” home where they would live together for the next forty-seven years. The Emersons had four children. Their home became not only a place for Emerson’s study and writing, but a literary center for the emerging American Transcendentalist movement.
In the early years the Emersons referred to their home as Coolidge Castle, a reference to the Boston Coolidges, who had it built as a summer house. In the family the house became known as Bush, and it remained Emerson’s “home front” for the rest of his life.