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When Edward served in Congress, his daughters packed their more delicate items in band boxes like this one, and came to visit him in Washington D.C. The young poet’s travel account brims with excitement for one destination in particular:

“We were three weeks in Washington . . . . I will not tell you what I saw – the elegance, the grandeur; . . . but if you haven’t been to the sweet Mount Vernon, then I will tell you how on one soft spring day we glided down the Potomac in a painted boat, and jumped upon the shore – how hand in hand we stole along up a tangled pathway till we reached the tomb of General George Washington, how we paused beside it, and no one spoke a word, and then hand in hand, walked on again, not less wise or sad for that marble story…Oh, I could spend a long day, if it did not weary you, telling of Mount Vernon . . . !”

Emily Dickinson to Elizabeth Holland (L179), March 18, 1855, in The Letters of Emily Dickinson, ed. Thomas H. Johnson (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1958), 2:318–319.

On a small round table sits a decorative cardboard box and lid, behind it an image of the Capitol.