letters from dickinson to harriet dickinson

Thomas Johnson's Note on Letter 518

MANUSCRIPT: Laramore. Ink. Unpublished.

The former owner of the manuscript, Mr. Wallace H. Keep, thought that it had been sent to his aunts in the fall of 1876. The date 1877 is conjectured because a worksheet draft of the poem (AC) is in the handwriting of that year, and because a variant of the first stanza is incorporated in letter no. 517, sent to Higginson in September 1877. Harriet Dickinson was present at a Dickinson family reunion in 1883 (see letter no. 861), and the tone of this letter suggests that she and her sister may have been present at a similar gathering earlier; if so, "they" refers to relatives. The father of Harriet and Martha Dickinson, the Reverend Baxter Dickinson, had died in Brooklyn, 7 December 1875.

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Commentary copyright 1998 by Martha Nell Smith, all rights reserved
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Last updated on May 3, 2000