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.

Contact Information

28 Cambridge Turnpike Concord, MA 01742

Phone: 978-369-2236



Sam S.   July 25, 2021
Impressive museum. I was surprised this small local museum was well developed and professional. Comprehensive coverage of the connections to Native...
George B.   May 17, 2021
If you want a place that highlights all the greatest hits of the history of Concord, this is it! Each adult ticket was about $10 but they also have some...
Tom belcastro   October 5, 2020
History go learn !
Ash Nicole   January 11, 2020
I love this beautiful living museum. The energy of genius still resonates in the air. I would recommend a step down memory lane to anyone interested in literature, spirituality or history. You certainly won't regret it.
Bea T.   September 3, 2019
Fantastic history given by the Trustees of the Reservation. Learned a lot about the Emerson and Ripley's who owned the place and the history of the...
Anthony G.   August 9, 2019
I was excited to visit a home with such a rich history. This home built by a Rev. William Emerson, is right next to the North Bridge, which saw the Battle...
Nana Nash, M.A.   August 6, 2019
Classic philosopher/great thinker. Beautifully preserved home for all to visit. History still relevant today.
Kevin Werner   July 27, 2019
This is an amazingly well preserved house. Been to a few of these types of houses over the years and they have a few items associated with their person or family living there and then some period pieces. This house was filled with stuff owned by Emerson and many rooms are as they were. The docents were very informative and friendly. If you are into Emerson or even Thoreau it is well worth the stop. If not, maybe not as it is presumed that you are familiar with his works. Not really sure why, but pictures are not allowed.
Lori F.   October 27, 2018
We stopped in for the house tour before which was fabulous. Yesterday while looking at a newsletter I receive I found they were doing "Spirit if the Manse...
Laurie S.   October 23, 2018
Astounding that so many of America's most important moments in history are documented by the collections of what some would consider to be a "small" museum....
M M   October 8, 2018
Wonderful visit to Emerson's house.
Ashley P.   June 25, 2018
This was my very first time in the state of Massachusetts, California native born and raised. I had only read about Emerson and of course all the associated...
Ashley P.   June 25, 2018
Great tour and great place to read about everything that went on many many years ago. They're currently in the middle of adding on to the museum and when...
Erin Holley   May 15, 2017
This could be considered the birthplace of the environmental movement. Ralph Waldo Emerson was very influential on my thinking as he was on his peers and audiences in his day. It should be a pilgrimage for all environmentalists.
R V.   January 27, 2010
Though I'm not a Concord native, I enjoyed the museum and the story of the town. They did a great job covering a lot of ground, from the Revolutionary...