Edward lives in Amherst, Massachussetts, during the 19th century. He is the father of Emily, Austin, and Lavinia
Edward holds traditional views and disapproves of Emily's writing. He tells her that her poems will bring shame and disappointment to the family and wishes that she leave it be.
He later runs for Congress. Edward prepares for local elections and is surprised when his supposedly safe seat becomes embroiled in a virtual tie.
In Hope is the thing with feathers, Edward worries that his son is becoming more and more like his own father. As the family gathers, Edward mourns the country that he finds himself in, unable to recognize it as the one he once idolized. He compares the Civil War to a family breaking up, and is thankful that his is together. Later, Edward’s heart gives out, and he collapses on the floor; barely breathing. Most of the family remains seated in horror. Only Emily actually attempts to help him. She is the only one who has hope.
In It feels a shame to be Alive, Edward mentions that he has a brother, who is a confederate soldier.
In The Soul has Bandaged moments, Edward says that he harbors no ill-will towards his son after his heart attack. In fact he’s made a full recovery and is now devoting his time to creating a legacy: “I may be dead within the month but people will never forget the name of Edward Dickinson”).
In This is my letter to the World, Edward learns of his brother’s plantation being ransacked, which in true centrist form he sees as a tragedy rather than a bold act of judgment, and from then on he and Emily Norcross are beset by itching. As it turns out that Lavinia brought fleas in from the barn, where she slept after trying to bury herself.
In Sang from the Heart, Sire, at a quilt auction where Emily Norcross feels so terrible about selling the one remaining possession of her sister that she had, she asks Edward to buy it back. Later, when things start to simmer down after Edward is called out for his recent letter in the newspaper. Unfortunately, he’s shown more and more sympathy to the confederates (in an effort to stay neutral), but his public expression is too far. What he believes to be a defense of his brother is taken as praising the enemy, and the people of Amherst are unhappy, threatening to remove him from his treasurership. He’s unsettled, but he takes comfort that he still has his family, and that’s what counts. His daughters rush to him, less in defense but in consolation, to make sure he is ok. Despite their political differences, he finds that he is still loved.
In A little Madness in the Spring, Edward, along with the rest of the Dickinson family take a tour of a women’s mental asylum, where each member of the family gets a taste of what they desire. For Edward it’s a place to stamp his name on; his idea of legacy is tied into institutions. Later,once they are back in Amherst, Edward refuses to sacrifice his daughter for his reputation in exchange for having the legacy he so yearned for.
In The Future never spoke, Edward finds Mrs. Dickinson sitting alone in her room and shows her the peculiar plant he found in Emily’s greenhouse. Later Mrs. Dickinson and Edward enjoy the effects of cannabis, dancing around the room in a munchie-induced frenzy. Eventually, Edward and Mrs. Dickinson take a nap induced by the effect of the cannabis plant they smoked.
In My life had stood - a loaded gun -, after Frazar Stearns's service, Edward and Emily bond; and Edward surprises his daughter by announcing his intention to name her executor of his will. She’s delighted that he believes her to be of “sound heart” and capability, and he takes some of her ideas (such as endowing a scholarship) into consideration. Edward tells her that, “You’ve always been loyal to me, even if I’ve not always deserved it,”.
In Grief is a Mouse, Edward rejects a possible run for office, deciding his family needs him more.
In This was a Poet -, Austin wants Edward to help them and “give a new meaning to the name Dickinson”. Edward, however, has now accepted that his legacy lies not in his name but his family, but seeing his son passionate about something other than upsetting the family, he agrees. As the family gathers to name the baby, they are interrupted by a handsome stranger. Eventually, father and son make amends, which culminated in Austin and Sue announcing that they are naming their baby after Edward.
- Emily Norcross Dickinson - wife
He has dark hair and a beard, which is graying. He has pale skin and often wears formal suits and a top hat.