- Civil rights leader Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. in his home office in Montgomery, Alabama, in May 1956.
- Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
- Famous authors, playwrights, scientists, and artists completed some of their best pieces of work while working from home.
- Mark Twain began writing “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” from his study at Quarry Farm in Elmira, New York.
- Children’s book author Roald Dahl even built a small hut in his garden to create the ideal secluded space for writing.
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From Albert Einstein to Joan Didion and Mark Twain, many of the world’s most famous thinkers created some of their best work at home.
Whether it was in a sky-high Manhattan apartment, a Connecticut farmhouse, a Revolutionary War-era home, or a Malibu mansion, these influential people all worked out of their homes at one point in their lives.
Here are 15 photos that show the working-from-home spaces of famous scholars, artists, and writers throughout history.
Jane Austen, the author of classic novels like “Pride and Prejudice” and “Emma,” is one of the most acclaimed female writers of all time — and wrote many of her works from home.
- An ink well and quill at Jane Austen’s writing desk.
Jane Austen’s writing desk can be seen at the Jane Austen House Museum near Alton, Hampshire, in the United Kingdom.
Before her death in 1817, Austen published four novels: “Pride and Prejudice,” “Sense and Sensibility,” “Emma,” and “Mansfield Park.” Two other novels, “Persuasion” and “Northanger Abbey,” were published together posthumously.
Charlotte Brontë was an English novelist and poet who wrote many of her novels from her family’s home.
- Charlotte Brontë’s writing desk on display at the Bronte Parsonage Museum on February 8, 2012, in Haworth, England.
Her most famous novels include “Jane Eyre,” “Villette,” and “Tales of Angria.”
The Brontë sisters wrote a majority of their novels in their home in Haworth, West Yorkshire. In 1928, the Brontë home was converted into a museum and later refurbished to reflect the style of the 1850s. Many artifacts, like Charlotte Brontë’s writing desk, are on display.
Charles Dickens wrote the classic novels “Oliver Twist,” “A Tale of Two Cities,” “Great Expectations,” and more from his home office.
- Charles Dickens’ writing desk.
The writing desk at which Dickens wrote “Great Expectations,” “Our Mutual Friend,” and other, later novels was purchased in 2015 by the Charles Dickens Museum, which is located at the site of one of Dickens’ former homes in London.
Not all great minds had the luxury of private offices and studios — founding father John Adams practiced law in the kitchen of his farmhouse in Braintree, Massachusetts.
- The kitchen used by John Adams as a law office in his farmhouse in Braintree (now Quincy), Massachusetts.
John Adams served as the United States’ first vice president and then became the second president of the United States, holding office from 1797 to 1801.
Leo Tolstoy wrote “War and Peace” and “Anna Karenina” at his home, Yasnaya Polyana, in Russia.
- Leo Tolstoy in his study at home in Yasnaya Polyana, 1905.
Mark Twain began writing “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” from his study at Quarry Farm in Elmira, New York.
- Mark Twain in his study at Quarry Farm, Elmira, New York, where he began writing “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.”
“The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” is considered one of the great American novels and follows the story of a young boy growing up in the antebellum South on the Mississippi River.
Sigmund Freud wrote most of his theories within the walls of his Vienna home.
- Sigmund Freud in the office of his Vienna home looking at a manuscript.
The home, where Freud lived for 47 years, also served as the “father of psychoanalysis’s” practice.
In 1971, the home was reopened as a museum. The museum houses books, letters, and pieces of art once owned by Freud. Visitors can also view the former practice’s waiting room and items from Freud’s extensive antique collection.
Albert Einstein purchased his home in Princeton, New Jersey, in 1936, and lived and worked there until his death in 1955.
- Albert Einstein at home in Princeton, New Jersey, 1944.
Ronald Clark, the author of the biography “Einstein: The Life and Times,” wrote that “his study in Mercer Street was his natural habitat. It was here that he could best carry on his main work and continue his stubborn rearguard battle against the new movements in physics which he had started nearly a third of a century ago.”
Irish author and dramatist George Bernard Shaw wrote a majority of his works in his London apartment but later moved to his country home after his wife passed away.
- George Bernard Shaw poses at his desk inside his Ayot St Lawrence house in July 1947.
In 1950, George Bernard Shaw died at his home in Ayot St Lawrence, which he had owned since 1906. At the time, 94-year-old Shaw was working on a new play.
Civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr. worked out of his home office in Montgomery, Alabama.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. in his home office in Montgomery, Alabama, in May 1956.
In 1956, the same year that this photo of Martin Luther King, Jr. working in his home office was taken, an assassination attempt was made on the civil rights activist after a bomb was set off at the home.
However, the King family continued to live in the home until 1960. The small house is now known as the Dexter Parsonage Museum.
American sculptor Alexander Calder created some of his greatest works in his studio.
- American sculptor Alexander Calder of Roxbury in his studio.
Located inside Calder’s New England country home, the glass-walled studio, which Calder’s wife, Perl, called a “wonderland, the air crowded with mobiles and pieces of mobiles,” according to Town and Country Magazine.
However, the home’s motto may as well have been “work hard, play hard,” as Calder was known for throwing wild parties at the Connecticut farmhouse.
“People describe it like a bacchanal, with partners throwing each other through the living room,” Perl said.
Edward Albee, the playwright of works such as “The Sandbox” and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” often worked out of his Greenwich Village apartment.
- Playwright Edward Albee working at the rolltop desk in his Greenwich Village apartment, 1963.
Albee received great acclaim for his plays and is ranked among the greatest American playwrights alongside Eugene O’Neill, Arthur Miller, and Tennessee Williams.
Children’s book author Roald Dahl built a “writing hut” in the garden of his home in Great Missenden, England.
- Roald Dahl writing at home, United Kingdom, 1965.
Described as a “deeply personal” space by the Roald Dahl Museum, the “writing hut” was filled with personal artifacts and mementos that Dahl liked to keep close by while he dreamed up new stories.
“When I am up here I see only the paper I am writing on, and my mind is far away with Willy Wonka or James or Mr. Fox or Danny or whatever else I am trying to cook up. The room itself is of no consequence. It is out of focus, a place for dreaming and floating and whistling in the wind, as soft and silent and murky as a womb,” Dahl wrote in “Roald Dahl: From the Inside Out – the Author Speaks.”
Writer Joan Didion and novelist John Gregory Dunne often wrote together in the library of their Malibu, California, home.
- Writer Joan Didion and novelist John Gregory Dunne sitting in the library of their Malibu, California, home, 1972.
Didion is famous for her “lucid prose style” and commentary on modern American life in the 1960s and 1970s.
Didion also wrote a number of screenplays with her husband, John Gregory Dunne, including collaborating on the 1976 adaptation of “A Star is Born” starring Barbra Streisand, “Panic in Needle Park,” and “True Confessions.”
Legendary fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld had his own studio inside his Paris apartment.
- Designer Karl Lagerfeld at his desk in the study of his apartment in Paris, 1974.
After leaving his post as a creative director for a major French fashion label in 1961, Lagerfeld began designing collections for legendary brands including Chloe and Fendi.
According to Biography.com, Lagerfeld had a deep appreciation for designs of the past, and often gathered inspiration from flea markets, oftentimes buying old wedding dresses he would then deconstruct and reimagine in his studio.