Emily Dickinson's Correspondences
Correspondence with Susan Dickinson

H B176

JL 97

OMC 12

early December 1852

ink, two sheets torn precisely down left side, making small leaves


watermark/embossment: N, no symbol

10.5 x 8.5 cm.

multiply folded

LL 55, in part, with changes. Pinholes and rust marks from paper clips. Dickinson's salutation intrigues: "Even in a gleeful moment, having pirated the marriage vow to echo 'Till death do us part' in 'Yours till death -,' Dickinson nicknames herself 'Judah,' after the lost tribe of Israel, humorously acknowledging her secession from conventional comportment" (Rowing in Eden 163). Johnson provides illuminating contextual details: "In the autumn of 1852, Edward Dickinson was the Whig candidate for Congress from the tenth district, and was elected in December"; Dickinson nicknames visitors after "General Wolfe (who died victorious at Quebec) and Major Pitcairn (fatally wounded at Bunker Hill)"; Joshua Reed Giddings had broken with the Whig party in 1848; Thomas Corwin, Fillmore's Secretary of the Treasury, opposed the Fugitive Slave Law, endorsed by the Whigs; and with "God moves. . . ," Dickinson alludes to William Cowper's "Light Shining out of Darkness," which Dickinson would know.

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Image reproduced by permission of the Houghton Library, Harvard University. Not to be reproduced in whole or in part without permission.
Transcription and commentary copyright 1996 by Martha Nell Smith, all rights reserved
Last updated on May 7, 2001
Maintained by Tanya Clement <tclement@umd.edu>