Emily Dickinson letters and poems sent to the Austin Dickinson family
Letters and poems by the poet Emily Dickinson, sent to her sister-in-law Susan Huntington; her brother Austin Dickinson; and their children.
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): http://www.hup.harvard.edu/rights/permissions.html
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Extent.9 linear feet (3 boxes)
The majority of the letters and poems in this collection are addressed to Dickinson's sister-in-law, Susan Huntington Dickinson. They express friendship and love; respond to Susan's criticism of Emily's poetry; and mark family birthdays and deaths. Most are extremely brief.
Biographical / Historical
The poet Emily Dickinson formed a close relationship with her brother's family, particularly with her sister-in-law Susan Huntington Dickinson, to whom most of the letters and poems in this collection were sent. Emily's older brother, William Austin Dickinson (1829-1895; usually referred to as Austin) attended Amherst College, then Harvard Law School. He married Susan Huntington Gilbert (1830-1913) on 1 July 1856; as a wedding present, Edward Dickinson built the couple The Evergreens next door to the Dickinson's house, called the Homestead. Austin practiced law in Amherst, and succeeded his father as Treasurer of Amherst College in 1873.
Susan Dickinson was the youngest daughter of Thomas and Harriet Arms Gilbert. Her mother died in 1837, and her father in 1841. She was then raised by an aunt, and attended Utica Female Academy. Emily and Austin Dickinson became acquainted with her when she came to live with her sister Harriet Gilbert Cutler in Amherst in 1850. Susan taught in Baltimore 1851-1852, and became engaged to Austin in November 1853.
Austin and Susan Dickinson had three children: Edward, called Ned (1861-1898); Martha (1866-1943), who married Alexander Bianchi in 1903; and Gilbert (1875-1883).
Organized into the following series:
- I. Manuscripts in notebook
- II. Loose manuscripts removed from notebook
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Purchased from Alfred Leete Hampson; with funds given by Gilbert H. Montague, class of 1901, in happy memory of Amy Montague; received: 1950 May.
Existence and Location of Copies
Readers are expected to use the facsimiles available.
- 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.
- Fr = Franklin, Ralph, ed. The poems of Emily Dickinson, variorum edition. Cambridge, Mass. : Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1998.
The following letters were originally assigned numbers in 1950, but subsequently moved to the Dickinson family papers, MS Am 1118.95:
- (B197) Dickinson, Edward, 1803-1874. A.L.s. (Edward Dickinson) to Edward (Ned) Dickinson; .Amherst] Christmas Day 1864. Ink; 1p. Begins: Dear little Eddy...
- (B200) Dickinson, Gilbert, 1875-1883. A.L.s. to Sarah E. Jenkins Squires; Amherst, 27 December 1882. Pencil; 4 p., with envelope. Begins: My dear Sally I thought I would write...
- (B202) Obituary notice of Emily Dickinson, clipped from the Springfield Republican; another copy of part of this notice, mounted, with A.N. by Samuel Bowles III to Susan Huntington Dickinson asking about corrections for the reprint in the Weekly Republican.
The following letter was originally assigned a number in 1950, but subsequently moved to the Emily Dickinson miscellaneous papers, MS Am 1118.7:
- (B201) Higginson, Thomas Wentworth, 1823-1911. A.L.s. to Emily Dickinson. Ink; 4 p. [ ] 11 May 1869. Begins: Sometimes I take out your letters...
The following items were not found in the Dickinson family papers at the time this finding aid was revised (March 2005):
- (B198) Bowles, Samuel, 1826-1878. A.L.s. to Susan Huntington Dickinson; [Springfield] 29 June [ ] Ink; 3 p. Begins: My dear Susan. Your part of convention ...
- (B199) Fiske, Deborah W. (Vinal). A.L.s. to Emily Norcross Dickinson; [Amherst, 184-] Ink; 2p. Begins: My dear Mrs. Dickinson, If convenient...
Processed by: William McCarthy, 1950. Revised and updated by Leslie A. Morris, 2005.
The headings given to the series are those assigned by William McCarthy upon receipt in 1950. The notebook in which the poems and letters were apparently housed was not retained. McCarthy numbered the sheets, in pencil, on the lower left corner of the versos; these are the numbers in parentheses. These numbers correspond to Johnson's "H B" numbers (e.g. MS Am 1118.5 (B1) is the same as H B1).
- Dickinson, Emily, 1830-1886. Emily Dickinson letters and poems sent to the Austin Dickinson family, 1850-1886: Guide.
- Houghton Library, Harvard College Library
- Language of description
- EAD ID
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