Ralph Waldo Emerson was a famous lecturer and author of essays. Born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1803, he later graduated from Harvard College in 1821 and began lecturing in 1833. A former Unitarian Clergyman, Emerson settled in Concord, Massachusetts the same year. Emerson’s first series of essays were published in 1841.
Ralph was first married for only 17 months. During the brief marriage to his first wife, he was newly ordained as a minister of the Unitarian Church. His wife’s sudden passing led Emerson to question his core beliefs, being so deeply affected by her death. Emerson later resigned as minister due to his “different” spiritual beliefs which he would not be allowed to profess.
Ralph Waldo Emerson did eventually re-marry and had four children. Ralph and Lydia raised their children in the Concord two-story house. Their oldest son, Waldo, sadly died at a young age from tuberculosis. Today, many of the same toys the children played with can be seen in the house which is still owned by the family’s descendents. Clothing and other personal items are displayed throughout the home, along with a treasure of artwork. One can almost feel the Emerson’s going about daily life, especially when the lecture gown displayed in Emerson’s bedroom is first seen.
After Ralph Waldo Emerson began publishing his essays, his fame brought many famous visitors to the house in Concord.
One such visitor was Henry David Thoreau. Thoreau frequently tutored and entertained Emerson’s children during his visits. In fact, it was Emerson’s land near Walden where Thoreau built his one room cabin to closely co-exist for two years with nature. Henry’s story of an attempt at simplifying his life was later published as a one year journey entitled, “Walden.”
The house today possesses many of the same items that the Emerson’s and their descendents formerly used in the home. The house did suffer fire during the days of Ralph and Lydia, but it only served as a reason to remodel and expand the home a bit. In 1882, Ralph Waldo Emerson died, followed by his wife ten years later. Their graves can still be found at Author’s Ridge in the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord. Is the home of Ralph Waldo Emerson haunted today? Do the memories of many years of living still possess the home? You decide…