Click to See More Photos of This Site A POET'S HOME AS IT WAS
Easily one of the more intriguing and surprising literary landmarks in Virginia is this home to the first female poet from Virginia included in the Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry. Coming to the site with little knowledge of Anne Spencer beyond what the highway markers and Landmarks Register had to say, I was pleasantly surprised by the site's presentation and the tireless efforts of the volunteers of the Anne Spencer House and Garden Museum, Inc. Sandra Wilson, who was tending to the garden in the backyard when I chanced upon the house, gave an impromptu but informative and enthusiastic tour of the home, which remains much like Spencer left it upon her death in 1975.

Throughout the home is much evidence attesting to Spencer's writing and place as a woman of considerable stature within the black community of Lynchburg. In the kitchen, a poem is painted on the wall. This complements well the very real features of the home, like the phone numbers scrawled upon the walls near the telephone. It is a lovely grounding feature. Not all writers are poised upon a mountaintop composing as the landscape reveals itself before them. They are very real people going through very real struggles. Wilson emphasized in her tour that Spencer was a grounded woman known for calling others out for their elitism (including frequent guest W.E.B. DuBois), and it is easy to recognize this while visiting her expansive but quite humble home on a double lot in Lynchburg.

That double lot gave Spencer the ability to cultivate an extensive garden, on which Wilson and other volunteers were working when I visited 1313 Pierce street. In the backyard stands Edankrall, Anne's little garden cabin, in which she wrote and thought. Although her poems were published in various venues throughout the 1920s, including The Crisis, figures like James Weldon Johnson and Langston Hughes wished that she would more actively seek publication. She focused instead on her home and garden, her son Chauncey, who would go on to help form the Tuskegee airman, her husband and their constant entertaining of visiting dignitaries to the Lynchburg Seminary. Touring through the home provides visitors with the ability to see how Spencer would have balanced these obligations. The organization taxed with its upkeep, like many sites, welcomes any financial or volunteer assistance.

SITE NAME
Anne Spencer House

COMMEMORATED BY
Historical Highway Marker
Q-6-20

Virginia Landmarks Register
118-61
September 21, 1976

National Register of Historic Places
December 6, 1976

LOCATION
1313 Pierce Street
City of Lynchburg

 

Jerdone Castle Douglas Southall Freeman, Ph.D.


This site was created by Emily Kane as part of the University of Virginia's American Studies program.
For more information about AS@UVA, click below.

American Studies at U.Va.