“I . . . am small, like the Wren, and my Hair is bold, like the Chestnut Bur—and my eyes, like the Sherry in the Glass, that the Guest leaves” (L268)
First-hand accounts describe Dickinson as slender in youth, and short of stature, perhaps standing around five feet and two inches. She sent this description in an early letter to correspondent T. W. Higginson, whose own description of the poet he recorded after their first meeting in a letter to his wife: “a step like a pattering child’s & in glided a little plain woman with two smooth bands of reddish hair… in a very plain & exquisitely clean white pique & a blue net worsted shawl” (L342a). The red of her hair is confirmed by an authentic lock now held in the archive at Amherst College.
Emily Dickinson to T. W. Higginson (268), July 1862, in The Letters of Emily Dickinson, ed. Thomas H. Johnson (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1958), 2:409–410.
T. W. Higginson to wife Mary Higginson (L342a), August 16, 1870 in The Letters of Emily Dickinson, ed. Thomas H. Johnson (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1958), 2:473–474.