Resources & Bibliography

The Emily Dickinson Museum welcomes inquiries from researchers and strives to support their work.   This page includes information about resources at the Museum and other Dickinson-related sites as well as information about copyright issues with Dickinson's work, a selected bibliography, and a list of electronic resources.

Amherst College Archives

Amherst College Archives and Special Collections

Emily Dickinson Museum's Resources

Research at the Museum can be useful not only to Dickinson scholars but also to researchers interested in nineteenth-century material culture, social and cultural trends, domestic life, architecture, and decorative arts.

The Museum maintains collections of objects owned by the Dickinson family from the Homestead and Evergreens and selectively acquires a permanent collection of objects for exhibit purposes in the two houses. The large collection of approximately 8,000 objects at The Evergreens includes furnishings, decorative arts, paintings and prints, household wares, textiles, and toys.  The Evergreens collection complements a much smaller collection at the Homestead. The Museum also has useful research material related to the history  of the Homestead, The Evergreens, and the landscape.

Researchers wishing to use the collections of the Emily Dickinson Museum should contact the executive director at jhwald@emilydickinsonmuseum.org or 413-542-2154.


Dickinson Manuscripts and Related Collections

The Museum does not own Dickinson manuscripts or family papers but works closely with the institutions that do.  The two major repositories for Emily Dickinson's manuscripts and family papers are Amherst College and Harvard University:

Amherst College Archives and Special Collections, Amherst, Massachusetts.
The Dickinson collection documents the creative work and personal life of Emily Dickinson, spanning her lifetime, from 1830 to 1886; her family and friends; and the early publication history of her work. It also includes material from Dickinson scholars Mabel Loomis Todd, Millicent Todd Bingham, Jay Leyda, and others. The collection includes original poems, manuscripts, and letters from Dickinson to family and friends; images of the poet, including the daguerreotype and silhouette; physical artifacts related to Dickinson; manuscript transcriptions; printers' copies and proofs; Mabel Loomis Todd's correspondence, research indices, and writings; and material from or about Dickinson's friends and family, including correspondence, photographs, objects, and scrapbooks.  The collection began with a gift from Millicent Todd Bingham of the Dickinson manuscripts in the possession of her mother, Mabel Loomis Todd.

Finding aid:

Digitized Dickinson Manuscripts available on-line:

Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The Dickinson Collection began at Harvard in 1950, the gift of Gilbert H. Montague “in happy memory” of his wife, Amy Angell Collier Montague. Montague, a distant cousin of the Dickinsons, purchased the collection from Alfred Hampson, who inherited it from Martha Dickinson Bianchi, the poet’s niece. Hampson was eager that the manuscripts be available for research at a major university, and Montague knew his alma mater would provide the proper environment to nurture the reputation of Emily Dickinson. The collection includes most of Emily Dickinson's fascicles and a large collection of family letters as well as family photographs, books, and personal items.

Finding aids:

The Emily Dickinson Room, where most of the Dickinson books, as well as furniture and other objects from the Dickinson family, are on display is shown to visitors on Fridays at 2:00 pm and at other times by appointment.

Other libraries with significant Dickinson-related holdings include:

John Hay Library, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island.
The Special Collections department at the John Hay Library houses several Dickinson-related collections.  The Martha Dickinson Bianchi Collection consists of the papers of the family of Emily Dickinson, along with the 3,000 volume family library from The Evergreens. The collection includes the personal papers of the poet's niece Martha Dickinson Bianchi (including family and editorial correspondence, diaries, notes, worksheets, typescript poems, stories, plays, photographs, articles, books, and clippings); the personal papers of Alfred Leete Hampson (who inherited The Evergreens from Bianchi) and his wife, Mary Landis Hampson (The Evergreens' last resident); and much secondary material relating to Emily Dickinson. The Barton Levi St. Armand Collection of Dickinson family papers includes letters of Edward (Ned) Austin Dickinson to William Austin Dickinson and Susan Huntington Gilbert Dickinson and several scrapbooks.

Finding aid:

Jones Library, Amherst, Massachusetts.
This Dickinson collection places the poet within the context of her community in Amherst, Massachusetts, during the mid-nineteenth century. The collection consists of approximately 7,000 items, including original manuscript poems and letters, Dickinson editions and translations, family correspondence, scholarly articles and books, newspaper clippings, theses, plays, photographs, and contemporary artwork and prints. The Jones Library also maintains Digital Amherst, a site prepared for the Town of Amherst's 250th anniversary that celebrates the town through images, multimedia and documents.

Finding aids:

The Emily Dickinson Collection chiefly consists of newspaper clippings, articles, books and published and unpublished papers concerning Dickinson's life and work. Also includes a letter that she wrote while a student at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary (1847-1848), collections of her poems, and documents relating to the Emily Dickinson International Society, a postage stamp issued in her honor, and films, music, novels, plays and poems about her.

Finding aid:

Yale University Library Manuscripts and Archives, New Haven, Connecticut.
The papers of Dickinson editor Mabel Loomis Todd consist of correspondence, notebooks, diaries, lectures, financial records, scrapbooks, subject files, and memorabilia documenting Todd's personal life and professional career . Correspondence and diaries detail Todd's personal attitudes and feelings toward her family, her relationship with William Austin Dickinson, her travels with her husband, David Peck Todd, and other matters. Legal and financial papers document court battles over her status as editor of Emily Dickinson's work. Lectures and subject files detail much of Mrs. Todd's work as a speaker and author, including material on Emily Dickinson and David Peck Todd's eclipse expeditions. Also at Yale are the Todd-Bingham Picture Collection as well as the papers of Todd's husband, David Peck Todd, and daughter Millicent Todd Bingham.

Finding aids:

Boston Public Library, Boston, Massachusetts.
The Rare Books and Manuscripts Collections includes Dickinson's corerspondence with Thomas Wentworth Higginson, her mentor and one of her posthumous editors.

Finding aid:


Digital and Electronic Research Resources

In addition to links cited above in Dickinson Manuscripts and Related Collections, the electronic resources listed below are useful in pursuing Dickinson interests.

  • Emily Dickinson Archive (edickinson.org) Emily Dickinson Archive (2013) makes high-resolution images of Dickinson’s surviving manuscripts available in open access, and provides readers with a website through which they can view images of manuscripts held in multiple libraries and archives. This first phase of the EDA includes images for the corpus of poems identified in The Poems of Emily Dickinson: Variorum Edition, edited by R. W. Franklin (Cambridge: Belknap Press of the Harvard University Press, 1998).
  • Digitized Dickinson Manuscripts This link allows the user to peruse Amherst College's complete collection (850 items) of Emily Dickinson manuscripts. The College's Archives and Special Collections department houses about half of Dickinson's poetry manuscripts.

  • Dickinson Electronic Archives A website devoted to the study of Emily Dickinson, her writing practices, writings directly influencing her work, and critical and creative writings generated by her work. Includes texts of letters, correspondence of the Dickinson family, and teaching resources. The DEA is produced by the Dickinson Editing Collective, Martha Nell Smith and Lara Vetter, General Editors and Coordinators.
  • Emily Dickinson International Society A member society formed in 1988 to promote, perpetuate, and enhance the study and appreciation of Emily Dickinson throughout the world. The society publishes the Emily Dickinson Journal and the Emily Dickinson International Society Bulletin and hosts annual meetings and conferences about topics of interest in Dickinson studies.
  • Emily Dickinson Online A website with “quick and easy access” to information about the poet, including sections on Fast Facts," "Bibliography,'" "Links," and a "Photo Album" of Dickinson-related images.
  • Emily Dickinson Lexicon Project The Emily Dickinson Lexicon is an on-line dictionary of all of the words in Emily Dickinson’s collected poems (Johnson 1955 and Franklin 1998 editions), using Dickinson's own Noah Webster's 1844 American Dictionary of the English Language as the primary source for definitions.
  • Radical Scatters: Emily Dickinson’s Fragments and Related Texts A subscripton may be required to access this material, which is related to the printed text cited above in Printed Materials.
  • Emily Dickinson's Correspondences: A Born-Digital Textual Inquiry A searchable archive of seventy-four poems and letters from Emily’s correspondence with Susan Dickinson. Each text is presented with a digitized scan of the holograph manuscript.
  • Dickinson Listserv An e-mail subscription list devoted to discussion of the work of Emily Dickinson. It is open to anyone interested in Dickinson's writing.
  • Emily Dickinson Bibliography An extensive bibliography related to Dickinson, created and maintained by Donna Campbell, Washington State University
  • Emily Dickinson’s Herbarium (Harvard’s Houghton Library) Full color photographs of each page of Dickinson's herbarium.
  • Dickinson Family Association An organization of and for the descendents of Nathaniel Dickinson, from whom the poet was descended. Nathaniel Dickinson came from England to Connecticut by 1637 and later settled in Hadley, Massachusetts (the town from which Amherst was created in 1759).
  • Emily Dickinson's Monson A guide to Monson, Massachusetts, where Emily Norcross Dickinson, the poet's mother, was born and raised.

Dickinson Printed Texts On-line
(see above for information about digitized manuscripts)

  • The Poems of Emily Dickinson ed. by Thomas Johnson (1955).  A digitized edition of this landmark work.
  • Dickinson in The Norton Anthology of Poetry A guide to Emily Dickinson poems in The Norton Anthology of Poetry (5th edition) and Amherst College manuscript holdings.
  • Academy of American Poets The Dickinson page includes a list of poems and links to selected texts.
  • Poetry Foundation The Dickinson page includes a list of poems and links to selected texts.
  • Poems of Emily Dickinson, First, Second, and Third Series (Project Gutenberg) The 1890s editions of Dickinson's work.
  • Modern American Poetry: Emily Dickinson Dickinson poems selected from An Online Journal and Multimedia Companion to Anthology of Modern American Poetry (Oxford University Press, 2000)
  • Poems of Emily Dickinson Electronic texts of the 1890s editions of Dickinson's poems, available through Google Books.
    • First Series Electronic text of the 1890 edition (11th printing), ed. by Mabel Loomis Todd and Thomas Wentworth Higginson.
    • Second Series Electronic text of the 1891 edition (4th printing), ed. by Mabel Loomis Todd and Thomas Wentworth Higginson.
    • Third Series Electronic text of the 1896 edition (2nd printing), ed. by Mabel Loomis Todd.
  • The Complete Poems Electronic text of the 1924 edition of Dickinson's poems, selected and with an introduction by her niece Martha Dickinson Bianchi.

Printed Materials

Below is a selected list of editions of Dickinson's poems and letters, biographies, and key reference works.   For additional biobliograpies, see Selected works related to the Homestead and The Evergreens below.

Recent Editions of Emily Dickinson’s Poems (in chronological order)

  • The Poems of Emily Dickinson. Ed. Thomas Johnson. Belknap Press of the Harvard University Press, 1955.
  • The Manuscript Books of Emily Dickinson. Ed. R.W. Franklin. Belknap Press of the Harvard University Press, 1981.
  • The Poems of Emily Dickinson. Ed. R.W. Franklin. Belknap Press of the Harvard University Press, 1998.
  • The Poems of Emily Dickinson, Reading Edition. Ed. R.W. Franklin. Belknap Press of the Harvard University Press, 1999.
  • Radical Scatters: Emily Dickinson's Fragments and Related Texts, 1870-1886. Ed. Marta Werner.  University of Michigan Press, 1999.  (see also electronic links below)

Recent Editions of Emily Dickinson’s Letters (in chronological order)

  • The Letters of Emily Dickinson. Ed. Thomas Johnson and Theodora V. Ward. Belknap Press of the Harvard University Press, 1958.
  • Emily Dickinson: Selected Letters. Ed. Thomas Johnson. Belknap Press of the Harvard University Press, 1971.
  • Open Me Carefully: Emily Dickinson’s Intimate Letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson. Ed. Ellen Louise Hart and Martha Nell Smith. Paris Press, 1998.

Biographies and Related Historical Works

  • Benfey, Christopher.  A Summer of Hummingbirds:  Love, Art, and Scandal in the Intersecting Worlds of Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, & Martin Johnson Heade. New York: The Penguin Press, 2008.
  • Bianchi, Martha Dickinson. Emily Dickinson Face to Face: Unpublished Letters with Notes and Reminiscences. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1932.
  • Bingham, Millicent Todd.  Emily Dickinson's Home Letters of Edward Dickinson and His Family.  New York:  Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1955.
  • Habegger, Alfred. My Wars Are Laid Away in Books: The Life of Emily Dickinson. New York: Random House, 2001.
  • Kirk, Connie Ann. Emily Dickinson: A Biography. Greenwood Press, 2001.
  • Longsworth, Polly. The World of Emily Dickinson. New York: W.W. Norton, 1990.
  • Lundin, Roger. Emily Dickinson and the Art of Belief. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdsmans Publishing Company, 1998.
  • Sewall, Richard B. The Life of Emily Dickinson. New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1974.
  • Whicher, George Frisbie. This Was a Poet: A Critical Biography of Emily Dickinson. 1938. Reprinted with an introduction by Richard Sewall by Amherst College Press, 1992.
  • Wineapple, Brenda.  White Heat:  The Friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson.  New York:  Alfred A. Knopf, 2008.
  • Wolff, Cynthia G. Emily Dickinson. New York: Knopf, 1986.

Reference Works and Essay Collections

  • The Cambridge Companion to Emily Dickinson. Ed. by Wendy Martin. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 2002.
  • A Companion to Emily Dickinson.  Ed. Martha Nell Smith and Mary Loeffelholz.  Blackwell Publishing, 2008.
  • A Concordance to the Poems of Emily Dickinson. Ed. S. P. Rosenbaum. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1964.
  • A Concordance to the Letters of Emily Dickinson. Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 2000.
  • An Emily Dickinson Encyclopedia. Ed. Jane Donahue Eberwein. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1998.
  • The Emily Dickinson Handbook. Ed. Gudrum Grabher, Roland Hagenbuchle, and Cristanne Miller. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1998.
  • A Historical Guide to Emily Dickinson. Ed. by Vivian R. Pollak. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 2004.
  • Reading Emily Dickinson's Letters:  Critical Essays.  Ed. Jane Donahue Eberwein and Cindy MacKenzie.  Amherst, Mass.: University of Massachusetts Press, 2009.
  • Vendler, Helen.  Dickinson:  Selected Poems and Commentaries. Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2010.
  • Years and Hours of Emily Dickinson. Ed. Jay Leyda.  New Haven: Yale University Press, 1960; reprinted by Archon Books, 1970. Two volumes.

Selected works related to the Homestead and The Evergreens

  • Bingham, Millicent Todd. Ancestor’s Brocades. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1945. Dover Paperback publication, 1967.
  • Capps, Jack. Emily Dickinson’s Reading 1836-1886. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1966.
  • Emily Dickinson: Profile of the Poet as Cook with Selected Recipes. Ed. Jean Mudge et al. Amherst, Mass., 1976.
  • Farr, Judith. The Gardens of Emily Dickinson. Cambridge: The Belknap Press at Harvard University Press, 2004.
  • Liebling, Jerome. The Dickinsons of Amherst. University of New England Press, 2001.
  • Longsworth, Polly. Austin and Mabel: The Amherst Affair: Love Letters of Austin Dickinson and Mabel Loomis Todd. New York: Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, 1984.
  • McDowell, Marta. Emily Dickinson’s Gardens: A Celebration of a Poet and a Gardener. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2005.

Copyright Issues and Dickinson's Work

The most recent editions of Emily Dickinson's poetry and letters remain under copyright.  These editions--The Poems of Emily Dickinson, ed. R. W. Franklin, 1998; The Poems of Emily Dickinson, ed. Thomas Johnson, 1955; and The Letters of Emily Dickinson, ed. Thomas Johnson, 1958--are considered the most authoritative and the best available editions in print of her work.  Harvard University Press administers the copyright to all editions.  Information about applying for permissions can be found at Harvard University Press Permissions.

Early editions of Dickinson's work are now in the public domain.  These editions include those edited by Mabel Loomis Todd and Thomas Wentworth Higginson in the 1890s, as well as some of Martha Dickinson Bianchi's editions.  In order to avoid copyright problems, it is best to check with Harvard University Press to find out whether the text you wish to cite remains under copyright.  For a complete list of the major posthumous publications of Dickinson's work, go to Major Editions of Dickinson's Writings.