1890, November 12

Mabel Loomis Todd publishes the first edition of Poems by Emily Dickinson (Boston: Roberts Brothers). The popular reception of this first edition of Poems initiates the publication of the Second Series  (1891) and the Third Series  (1896) of Poems. Mabel Loomis Todd, as editor, publishes Letters of Emily Dickinson in two volumes in 1894. 

 

Ned Dickinson

1861, June 19

Birth of Edward “Ned” Dickinson, Emily Dickinson’s nephew 

 

Is it true, dear Sue? 

Are there two?

I shouldn’t like to come 

For fear of joggling Him! 

If you could shut him up

In a Coffee Cup, 

Or tie him to a pin

Till I got in – 

Or make him fast 

To “Toby’s” fist –

Hist! Whist! I’d come!” (Dickinson, Fr189)

1863, September

From late April to November, 1864, Emily Dickinson spends many months in Cambridge, Massachusetts for treatment of a severe, disabling eye condition. During these two months with Boston’s leading ophthalmologist, Dr. Henry Willard Williams, Dickinson lives with her cousins Louisa and Frances Norcross in Cambridge. 

 

“The eyes are as with you, sometimes easy, sometimes sad. I think they are not worse, nor do I think them better than when I came home. The snow light offends them, and the house is bright … Vinnie [is] good to me, but ‘cannot see why I don’t get well.’ This makes me think I am long sick, and this takes the ache to my eyes.” (Dickinson, L430, 433, 439) 

Early 1860s

Emily Dickinson’s reclusiveness increases. While the origin of this departure from social life is specifically unknown, Dickinson’s withdrawal from society also marks the beginning of one of her most productive times, artistically. 

 

“A Charm invests a face 

Imperfectly beheld – 

The Lady dare not lift her Vail – 

For fear it be dispelled – 

But peers beyond her mesh – 

And wishes – and denies – 

Lest interview – annul a want – 

That Image – satisfies-” (Dickinson, Fr430A)

1865

The Civil War ends. 

A portrait of Judge Otis Phillips Lord, a Dickinson love interest

Late 1870s

Emily Dickinson’s romance with Judge Otis Phillips Lord begins. Dickinson’s relationship with Lord is one among many which continue to intrigue scholars. Dickinson and Lord continue to exchange letters until his death in March 1884.