Emily Dickinson Museum Poetry Discussion Group To Meet Sept. through April

July 27, 2005
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.—The Emily Dickinson Museum has formed a poetry discussion group devoted to the pleasures and challenges of reading Emily Dickinson 's poetry. The group is open to long-time Dickinson readers as well as those who have just been introduced to the poet's work and will meet monthly from September through April.

After the introductory meeting led by Cindy Dickinson, the museum's director of programming and interpretation, sessions will be led by different-and distinguished-Dickinson scholars. (The complete schedule follows.) Poems for discussion will be announced two weeks prior to the session date.

All sessions will meet from noon to 2 p.m. Brown bag lunches are encouraged. All but one session will take place at the Dickinson Homestead, 280 Main Street, Amherst. The January session will meet at the Special Collections Department of the Jones Library, 43 Amity Street, Amherst.

Participation is limited to 12 people. To register, please contact Cindy Dickinson at csdickinson@emilydickinsonmuseum.org or 413/542-8429. The registration fee is $50 for those who register before September 15; $60 for registration on or after September 15. Single-session registration will be permitted on a space-available basis after October 1; single-session fee is $10.

Friday, Sept. 30: Introduction to Emily Dickinson and Her Poetry, Cindy Dickinson, Emily Dickinson Museum
Friday, Oct. 28: Polly Longsworth, independent scholar
Friday, Dec. 2: Christopher Benfey, Mount Holyoke College
Friday, Jan. 27: Jay Ladin, Yeshiva University
Friday, Feb. 24: Cynthia MacKenzie, University of Regina, Saskatchewan
Friday, March 24: Karen Sánchez-Eppler, Amherst College
Friday, April 28: Martha Ackmann, Mount Holyoke College


Amherst College Donates $70,000 to Local Schools

July 18, 2005
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.—Amherst College has donated $70,000 to the Amherst public schools to support the technology needs of schools in the town of Amherst. “American colleges and universities need to recognize the fundamental importance of the secondary schools,” says Anthony W. Marx, the president of the college. “Education is the best tool we have for making the world a better place, and Amherst College is pleased to support the work of education at its foundations.”

Barry Del Castilho, the town manager of the town of Amherst, says that the gift is “part of an effort to close a $1.7 million budget gap facing the town, schools and libraries for fiscal year 2006.” Amherst Superintendent of Schools Jere Hochman requested $171,400 to replace, repair and maintain computer and communications equipment for the elementary schools. The college's “gift is made in recognition that the college benefits from good schools in the town,” says Peter Shea, the treasurer of Amherst College, “and fits with our mission of education.”

Shea says the college “likes to target its gifts to the town that way, realizing that it frees up other money for the town to spend on other priorities.” Del Castilho puts it this way: “By providing support for this more or less specific, high priority item in the elementary schools' capital request, the college's contribution prevents cuts in town, school and library services.”

Founded in 1821 for “the education of indigent young men of piety and talents,” Amherst College is now widely regarded as the premier liberal arts college in the nation, enrolling a diverse group of approximately 1,600 young men and women. Well known for its academic excellence, Amherst is also consistently ranked among the very best schools in the country in terms of accessibility: The college's financial aid packages are consistently the most generous in the U.S., and among its peer universities and colleges Amherst has the greatest economic diversity. Diversity, in its broadest sense, is fundamental to Amherst's mission. The college enrolls students from every state and more than 40 countries, and for the past several years more than 35 percent of Amherst's students have been students of color. Amherst offers the B.A. degree in 33 fields of study.


Emily Dickinson Museum Announces Major Gift from Kaneka Corporation of Japan

July 1, 2005
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.—The Emily Dickinson Museum announced today that it has received a $50,000 gift from the Kaneka Corporation of Japan for capital improvements to the Dickinson family homes in Amherst. Kaneka's gift marks the first corporate contribution to the Emily Dickinson Museum 's campaign fund and also represents the first major donation to the Museum from outside the continental United States.

“The Kaneka Corporation of Japan is proud, in this, the 175th anniversary year of Emily Dickinson's birth, to become the first corporate donor to the growing Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst, Mass.,” said Kaneka President Masatoshi Takeda. “This gift shows that Kaneka Corporation is dedicated to providing funds to institutions that contribute to cultural growth.”

The Osaka-based corporation is a $4 billion producer of chemical products including PVC resins, electrical material, pharmaceutical intermediaries, food supplements, synthetic fibers and fine chemicals. Established in 1949, it has subsidiaries in Asia, Australia, Europe and North America. Kaneka's corporate philosophy states that it strives to create a broad spectrum of life-enhancing products and services that work in harmony with people, society and the environment.

The $50,000 gift by the Kaneka Corporation will be matched by funds from a federal Save America's Treasures grant. This program, administered by the National Park Service, provides matching grants for projects that preserve outstanding examples of America's diverse history and culture. In 2004, Save America's Treasures awarded the Emily Dickinson Museum a grant of $200,000 for restoration and infrastructure improvements at the two historic Dickinson homes on Main Street in Amherst.

“The Kaneka Corporation's generous gift to the Emily Dickinson Museum comes at a vital moment for our young institution,” said Polly Longsworth, Museum chair and Dickinson biographer.“We're happy, too, to be forging one more link in the strong association between Dickinson and Japan.”

Japanese fascination with Emily Dickinson began with the appearance of the poet's work in Japanese studies of American Literature as early as the 1920s. In the 1960s The Poems of Emily Dickinson, edited by Thomas H. Johnson, created a swelling of Japanese scholarly criticism of the poet's work. By 1973, all Dickinson's poems had been translated and Japanese scholars began work on her letters. The Emily Dickinson Society of Japan, founded in 1980, is celebrating its 25th year, boasting nearly 100 members, 20 of whom also claim membership in the Emily Dickinson International Society (EDIS). The 2007 annual convention of the EDIS is scheduled to take place in Kyoto, Japan.

The Emily Dickinson Museum, comprising the Dickinson Homestead and The Evergreens, two historic houses in Amherst, is devoted to the story and legacy of poet Emily Dickinson and her family. The Dickinson Homestead was the birthplace and residence of the poet (1830-1886). The Evergreens was the 1856 home of the poet's brother and sister-in-law, Austin and Susan Dickinson. Merged into a single museum in 2003, both properties are owned by the Trustees of Amherst College. For more information, please visit the Emily Dickinson Museum's website.