The Dickinson archive is spatially bound by the special collections libraries at Harvard, Amherst, and the Boston Public Library (a few manuscripts are elsewhere). And it is also bound by how we think archives work, how they are organized and how these two ideas inform what becomes archival. This discussion stream is a space to think through how archives work generally—their warp and woof of preservation and destruction always at work on the materials we place there. It is also a place to think through what the boundaries of the archive allow to be preserved, something that post-colonialists and queer theorists remind us of all the time. The arrival of a long sought after digital body of Dickinson’s work traces a new boundary around the shape of what’s let in and left out and we hope that this space inspires thought from archivists, manuscript scholars, critical theorists, Dickinson scholars, librarians and many more. How do archives work? How do we wish they worked? What are our hopes for these digital archives?
The original Dickinson Electronic Archives was launched in 1994 and was regularly updated until 2012. We invite visitors to explore the DEA in its original form, where they can discover nearly 18 years worth of digital Dickinson archival and scholarly work.