Emily Dickinson Collection
Scope and Contents
This collection contains approximately 70 letters and 43 poems sent by Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) to Thomas Wentworth Higginson. The letters provide insight into their relationship, particularly Higginson’s role as her “teacher” and Dickinson’s personal life. Also included are letters written between Thomas Wentworth Higginson and Mabel Loomis Todd regarding the publication of Dickinson’s poems. Many of the letters Dickinson sent to Higginson appear in The Poems of Emily Dickinson, edited by Thomas H. Johnson, Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Copyright 1958, 1986 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. Many of the poems appear in The Poems of Emily Dickinson, Thomas H. Johnson, ed., Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Copyright, 1951, 1955, 1979, 1983 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College.
- Majority of material found in 1862-1891
Conditions Governing Access
The collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
The President and Fellows of Harvard College claim the sole ownership of and sole literary rights and copyrights therein to the texts of Emily Dickinson. For permission to quote from or reproduce from manuscript material of Dickinson, contact the
Conditions Governing Use
Items in this collection may be subject to copyright restrictions. In most cases, the Boston Public Library does not hold the copyright to the items in our collections. It is the sole responsibility of the user to make their own determination about what types of usage might be permissible under U.S. and international copyright law.
Biographical / Historical
In 1862, Emily Dickinson responded to an article by Thomas Wentworth Higginson entitled "Letter to a Young Contributor", which formed a personal and professional relationship between the two and resulted in the first-time publication of many of Dickinson’s poems.
Language of Materials
Method of Acquisition
Donated to the Boston Public Library by Thomas Wentworth Higginson in 1911.
Finding aid written by Kimberly Reynolds, August 2011.
This electronic finding aid is transcribed from legacy data. In many cases, transcriptions were not verified against collection materials at the time of transcription. As a result, this finding aid could be incomplete and might only reflect a partial understanding of the material.
Statement on harmful description
Archival description reflects the biases of time periods and cultures in which it was created and may include direct quotations or descriptions that use inappropriate or harmful language. Creator provided descriptions may be maintained in order to preserve the context in which the collection was created and/or used. Legacy description and potentially offensive content may be made available online until a collection can be reprocessed because the access that they provide to primary source materials is uniquely valuable to the research community at large. Our efforts to repair outdated descriptions and to describe our collections more equitably are iterative and ongoing.
- Dickinson, Emily, 1830-1886 -- Correspondence.
- Dickinson, Emily, 1830-1886 -- Friends and associates.
- Higginson, Thomas Wentworth, 1823-1911 -- Correspondence.
- Poets, American -- 19th century -- Correspondence. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Todd, Mabel Loomis, 1856-1932 -- Correspondence.
- Emily Dickinson Collection
- Rare Books and Manuscripts Department staff, October 2011
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description