Writings by Susan Dickinson

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The Independent
251 Broadway,
New York.

March 21, 1891.

William A. Dickinson, Esq.,
Amherst, Mass.

My dear Sir: --

I write this letter to you altho I intend it equally
for Mrs. Dickinson. I have a letter in hand received this morning
from Miss Lavinia Dickinson in which she says:

"I wish simply to say that my sister gave her poems to
me, all of them, as I can prove if necessary; and that altho copies
of them have been given at different times to different persons,
they have been so given simply for private perusal or reading to
others, and not to pass the property in them, which is mine."

She also says that she has decided in view of her intention
to publish another volume at some time, "not to permit more of the
unpublished, unless quite occasionally, to appear in newspapers or
magazines at present. Certainly this cannot be done without my
consent." Certainly it will not be wise for me to be a party in
any family difference. It would have seemed to me impossible, in
view of your sister Emily's unwillingness to have her poems pub-
lished, that she could have given to her sister any such exclusive
right of property as is here claimed, and if she did not it would
have seemed to me that you had as much right as any one, and cer-
tainly that your wife had a right in those which were given to her,
and of which, I suppose, you did not know that Miss Lavinia Dickin-

H bMS Am 1118.95, Box 9

son had any copies. If however, it be a fact, and perhaps whether
it be a fact or not, that Miss Emily did give to Miss Lavinia the
proprietary right in all her poems, it may not be wise for us to
publish others without her consent so long as she claims the right,
for certainly any difference over the subject would be unseemly.

I did not understand that that copy in her hand-writing
was to be returned and I carried it home and gave it to my sister,
but I will recall it and return it to you, altho if there are any
copy of verses in her hand-writing which your sister could spare,
my sister would be very glad to put them in her autograph collec-

Is it not possible in some kindly way for this matter of
proprietorship to be settled. I hope it may be,

Yours very truly,
Wm. Hayes Ward
Superintending Ediyor [sic].

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Last updated on January 25, 2008

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