Writings by Susan Dickinson

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From the Editors


1. Acknowledgements; 2. Editorial Statement; 3. A Brief Biography; 4. A Working Bibliography; 5. Susan Dickinson's Bibliography; 6. About the Evergreens




Editors: Martha Nell Smith, Laura Elyn Lauth, and Lara Vetter

The editors of Writings by Susan Dickinson would like to thank contributing editor Marcy Tanter for her work on Martha Dickinson Bianchi and the Evergreens. We would also like to thank the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities (IATH) at the University of Virginia for their ongoing support, as well as the staff at the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH). And for their invaluable ongoing assistance, the editors especially want to thank Leslie Morris, Houghton Library, Harvard University; John Lancaster and Daria D'Arienzo, Special Collections, Frost Library, Amherst College; and Mark Brown, John Hay Library, Brown University.


Editorial Statement


In conventional routines of editing, these materials would be worked and reworked by the editor and coeditors and not made available until they were polished for presentation in a book. However, this medium enables us to share the fruits of our research earlier than that, and the Dickinson Editing Collective invites responses to the materials presented here--to the accuracy of our transcriptions, to the formulations of our notes, indeed to all aspects of the archive's organizational structures, links, searchability. Responses may be sent to the General Editors. Revisions will frequently be made on this site (new transcriptions and new documents are constantly being added), and users are encouraged to visit regularly so that information used or quoted from this online critical edition is as up-to-date as possible. Also, please review our Conditions of Use Statement for information on proper citation and other use of the Dickinson Electronic Archives resources.


A Brief Biography


A brief account of her life... by Martha Nell Smith


There is no history. There is only biography.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson (1839)

Though her intense and constant relationship with Emily Dickinson spanned five decades, forty years (from the late 1840s until the poet's death in 1886), and though Dickinson sent her substantially more writings than any other correspondent and changed at least one poem at her behest, a book-length biography of Susan Huntington Gilbert Dickinson (called "Susie" as a girl; "Sue" as a young and middle-aged woman; "Susan" in her later years) is yet to be written.1 Born nine days after Emily Dickinson on December 19, 1830, about ten miles away from Amherst in Old Deerfield, Massachusetts, and dying May 12, 1913, almost twenty-seven years to the day after Emily, Susan and Emily have been called "nearly twins" by some (Mudge 93), and indeed they enjoyed many mutual passions for literature, especially poetry, and for gardening, recipes, music, nature. READ MORE...


A Working Bibliography



Susan Dickinson's Obituary



An Old and Honored Resident of Am-

herst, Who Was Also Widely Honored Abroad.

(May 12, 1913)

Mrs. Susan Huntington Gilbert Dickinson, widow of William Austin Dickinson, died at her home, the Evergreens, in Amherst yesterday, in her 83rd year, from heart disease. She had been seriously ill for a number of weeks, and for several days her life has been slowly, peacefully fading away. She was a woman of rare quality and truly a distinguished citizen of the town, who had made her home for many years one of the notable features of the community. She had undoubtedly entertained at her board more men and women of distinction in the world of literature and affairs than any other householder in the place. She had lived in Amherst from the time of her marriage in 1857 [sic; 1856], with the exception of seven winters which were passed in New York, and several long periods of travel and residence abroad. [Among the papers found in the Evergreens is a journal Susan kept of a trip to Europe in the early 1900s, when she was seventy-five years old. As an elderly traveller and inveterate writer, Susan visited Paris, Nice, Cologne, Zurich, Verona, Venice, Florence, Rome, the Hague, and London, revelling in the architectural majesty of church buildings and in the sublime beauty of the "Alpine peaks snow tipped. . .all so wholesome after Paris" and taking care to record her observations and encounters with acquaintances new and old, usually in a literary or poetical vein.] She possessed a charming and gracious personality and unusual gifts as a conversationist. She had always a keen interest in the arts and particularly literature, and was a wide and sympathetic reader of the best works, both modern and classic. She shared with her husband a fine, discriminating taste in art, and their home has long been notable for its beautiful pictures. READ MORE...


About the Evergreens


The Evergreens

by Martha Nell Smith and Marcy Tanter

susan dickinson's obituary


The Evergreens was built around an eighteenth-century colonial structure, General Mack's place, and is just West of The Homestead (at this site you can read about Emily Dickinson's home as well as learn more about Susan and Austin Dickinson's home). The Evergreen's kitchen and dining room have the low ceilings, and the kitchen the heavy, thick, rough-hewn floors common in a period when unrefined Amherst and the Connecticut Valley were still relatively frontier. Around this original structure, Austin and Susan built and furnished, with the help of Edward Dickinson and Susan's wealthy brothers, their Victorian mansion. READ MORE...