poems from dickinson to elbridge g. bowdoin

Thomas Johnson's Note on Poem 1

MANUSCRIPT: This valentine (Bingham 98-3-4), which is dated "March 4th. 1850.," was sent to Elbridge G. Bowdoin, a young bachelor practicing law in the office of Edward Dickinson. The six "comely maidens" who are named were probably Sarah Taylor, Eliza Coleman, Emeline Kellogg, Harriett Merrill, Susan Gilbert (who later married ED's brother Austin), and ED herself - "she with curling hair." This is the earliest known poem by Emily Dickinson. It was presented by Bowdoin to Anna M. Kellogg, a sister of Rufus B. Kellogg who was graduated from Amherst in 1858 and served as the first alumni trustee (1875-1885). Miss Kellogg in turn gave it to Lavinia Dickinson (see AB, 205-206). It is now in the possession of Millicent Todd Bingham.

PUBLICATION: Letters (1894), 137-139; (1931), 136-138. Some but not all of the italics are reproduced. The name Sabra in the 1894 edition is corrected to Susan in the 1931 edition. There are a few minor changes in punctuation.

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Commentary copyright 1998 by Martha Nell Smith, all rights reserved
Maintained by Lara Vetter <lvetter@uncc.edu>
Last updated on February 25, 2008