Longfellow National Historic Site

Longfellow House has seen a lot more history than your average old house. George Washington, Commander-in-Chief of the newly-formed Continental Army, used the house as his headquarters during the Siege of Boston from July 1775 to April 1776. For almost half a century (1837-1882), the house was the home of poet and novelist Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. During that time, the house was a favorite gathering place for many prominent writers, artists, and public figures, including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Julia Ward Howe, and Charles Sumner. After Longfellow’s death in 1882, his family continued to preserve the property for ninety years until it was transferred to the National Park Service in 1972. As a result, virtually all of the furnishings are original to the house, and most date from Henry Longfellow’s occupancy. Today, the national historic site also houses an extensive museum collection: American and European decorative arts from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; important nineteenth century painters and sculptors such as Gilbert Stuart and Albert Bierstadt; Longfellow’s personal library and family papers dating from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries; and an estimated 700,000 manuscript items, including letters from George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Charles Dickens, and Abraham Lincoln. The following notice is on the National Park Service’s home page for the Longfellow National Historic Site: “Longfellow National Historic Site closed temporarily to visitors beginning October 25, 1998 for an indefinite period. The temporary closure will allow the National Park Service to make critical improvements to fire protection, security, and environmental control systems, collections storage, handicapped access, and education program space. Comprehensive rehabilitation of this popular visitor site, which includes the Longfellow House and its gardens and grounds, is scheduled to begin in Spring, 2000.”

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Links: Longfellow National Historic Site Offical Web Site

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