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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Am 1118.1

Emily Dickinson letters to John Long Graves


Letters from the Massachusetts poet Emily Dickinson, to her cousin, John Long Graves, with four autograph poems and letters to others.


  • Creation: 1854-1927

Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Access to the originals requires the permission of the curator.


For permission to quote from or reproduce from manuscript material of Dickinson, contact the Curator of Modern Books and Manuscripts, Houghton Library. For permission to quote from published editions of Dickinson's work that are still in copyright (such as the Johnson and Franklin editions of the poems) and for all commercial uses of Emily Dickinson texts, write to the Permissions Department, Harvard University Press, 79 Garden St., Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, 02138-1499 or use their online form (HUP does not accept permissions requests by email or fax):

Conditions Governing Use

Images linked to this finding aid are intended for public access and educational use. This material is owned and/or held by the Houghton Library, and is provided solely for the purpose of teaching or individual research. Any other use, including commercial reuse, mounting on other systems, or other forms of redistribution requires the permission of the curator.


.1 linear feet (1 volume)

Contains eight letters from Dickinson to John Long Graves, one to Clara Newman Turner, one to Anna Newman Carleton, one to "dear boys," and four autograph poems by Dickinson including:

  1. Before I got my eye put out . . .
  2. I cannot dance upon my toes . . .
  3. They might not need me - yet they might . . . [first line]
  4. While I was fearing it - it came . . .

Also includes: one letter from Thomas Wentworth Higginson to Jane Helen Findlater concerning Dickinson's poems; one letter from Findlater to an unidentified recipient about purchasing poems; one letter from Margaret Maher to Clara Newman Turner; and a note by MacGregor Jenkins.

Biographical / Historical

Dickinson was a poet of Amherst, Mass. Correspondents in this grouping of letters include her cousins: John Long Graves (1831-1915), Clara Badger Newman Turner (Mrs. Sidney Turner), and Anna Dodge Newman Carlton (Mrs. George H. Carleton). Other names in this series include: Margaret "Maggie" Maher, one of the Dickinson's domestic staff; Thomas Wentworth Higginson, a close family friend; and others.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Acquired from various sources at various times. See items for full acquistion information.

Existence and Location of Copies

Readers are expected to use the facsimiles available.


References included in the notes are to:
  • J = Johnson, Thomas, ed.. The poems of Emily Dickinson : including variant readings critically compared with all known manuscripts. Cambridge, Mass. : Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1955.
  • JL = Johnson, Thomas, ed. The letters of Emily Dickinson. Cambridge, Mass. : Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1958. This collection includes Johnson's "HCL G" letters.
  • Fr = Franklin, Ralph, ed. The poems of Emily Dickinson, variorum edition. Cambridge, Mass. : Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1998.

Processing Information

Processed by: Leslie A. Morris and Bonnie B. Salt

Dickinson, Emily, 1830-1886. Emily Dickinson letters to John Long Graves, 1854-1927: Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard College Library
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, archives, and more. Houghton Library's collections represent the scope of human experience from ancient Egypt to twenty-first century Cambridge. With strengths primarily in North American and European history, literature, and culture, collections range in media from printed books and handwritten manuscripts to maps, drawings and paintings, prints, posters, photographs, film and audio recordings, and digital media, as well as costumes, theater props, and a wide range of other objects. Houghton Library has historically focused on collecting the written record of European and Eurocentric North American culture, yet it holds a large and diverse number of primary sources valuable for research on the languages, culture and history of indigenous peoples of the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania.

Houghton Library’s Reading Room is free and open to all who wish to use the library’s collections.

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