A Guide to the Emily Dickinson letter to Mrs. Henry Hills, circa 1879 Dickinson, Emily, letter to Mrs. Henry Hills, circa 1879, A guide to M 235

A Guide to the Emily Dickinson letter to Mrs. Henry Hills, circa 1879

A Collection in
Special Collections and Archives, James Branch Cabell Library
Collection number M 235


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Virginia Commonwealth University, James Branch Cabell Library

Special Collections and Archives
James Branch Cabell Library
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Virginia Commonwealth University
Richmond, Virginia 23284-2003
USA
Phone: (804) 828-1108
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Email: libjbcsca@vcu.edu
URL: http://www.library.vcu.edu/about/special-collections/cabell/

© 2015 By Virginia Commonwealth University. All rights reserved

Processed by: Alice Campbell and Margaret Kidd

Repository
Special Collections and Archives, James Branch Cabell Library, Virginia Commonwealth University
Collection number
M 235
Title
Emily previous hitDickinson next hit letter to Mrs. Henry Hills, circa 1879
Physical Description
1 item, handwritten letter.
Creator
previous hitDickinson next hit, Emily, 1830-1886
Language
English

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Access to the original letter is restricted. Permission to view the original must be granted by the head of Special Collections and Archives. Inquire at the reading room desk or send an email to libjbcsca@vcu.edu for assistance.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Preferred Citation

Emily previous hitDickinson next hit letter to Mrs. Henry Hills, circa 1879, Collection # M 235, Special Collections and Archives, James Branch Cabell Library, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA.

Acquisition Information

The letter was donated to Special Collections and Archives by the Associates of the James Branch Cabell Library.

Alternative Form Available

The letter is available in digital form via the VCU Libraries Gallery. A facsimile of the letter is available in Special Collections and Archives.

Custodial History

This letter was purchased by the Associates of the James Branch Cabell Library on 16 June 1972, from Seven Gables Bookshop located in New York City. Per notes written on the invoice for the transaction, the bookshop states it acquired the letter as follows: "It came to us, with one intermediary, from Mr. Hills Skillings, acting for the heirs of Mrs. Henry Hills."


Biographical Information

Emily Elizabeth previous hitDickinson next hit, daughter of Edward and Emily Norcross previous hitDickinson next hit, was born 10 December 1830, in Amherst, Massachusetts. She attended Amherst Academy and Mount Holyoke Female Seminary. previous hitDickinson next hit lived most of her life in the family home on 280 Main Street in Amherst. After the death of her parents she remained in the home with her sister, Lavinia. Aside from a few trips to Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and Boston, by her late 20s previous hitDickinson next hit rarely left home and was known for her reclusiveness. Despite this she maintained close relationships with family and friends via correspondence, in which she often included poems. Very few of previous hitDickinson's next hit poems were published in her lifetime. After previous hitDickinson's next hit death in 1886 at age 55, Lavinia discovered nearly 1,800 poems in Emily's room. Eventually all of previous hitDickinson's next hit poetry was published posthumously.

Mary Adelaide Spencer Hills was born in 1840, to Owen Spencer and Mary Pitkin in South Manchester, Connecticut. Adelaide, as she was known, married Henry Francis Hills of Amherst, Massachusetts in 1863. As a wedding gift, Hills built her a house on 360 Main Street (now renumbered as 38 Gray Street) in Amherst, making the couple neighbors with the Dickinsons. The Hills lived in New York and summered in the house in Amherst. The Hills were friendly with the Dickinsons and Adelaide was a frequent correspondent with Emily. Adelaide died in 1910.

Scope and Content

This letter is from Emily previous hitDickinson next hit to her neighbor Mrs. Henry Hills (Adelaide Spencer Hills). The letter is unsigned and undated. It reads:

Vocal, is but one

form of remembrance,

dear friend.

the cherishing

that is speechless,

is equally

warm -

The letter was first published in 1894, in the two-volume The Letters of Emily previous hitDickinson next hit edited by Mabel Loomis Todd. After the death of Adelaide Hills in 1910, the letter passed into the hands of her children, specifically her daughter Susan Clapp Hills Skillings. According to previous hitDickinson next hit scholar, Thomas H. Johnson, a transcript of the text of this letter, and others in Mrs. Skillings possession, was made by George Frisbie Whicher. In Johnson's The Letters of Emily previous hitDickinson next hit (1958), this letter, listed as "letter 614," is given a possible date of 1879, and the original is listed as missing. The original letter remained with Mrs. Hills' heirs, until it was obtained by Seven Gables Bookshop from Mr. Hills Skillings.

Related Material

For more information about the Hills family see the finding aid for the Hills Family Papers, Amherst College Archives and Special Collections, Amherst College Library.


Adjunct Descriptive Data

Bibliography

Visit the Emily previous hitDickinson Museum site to find out more about her letters and a bibliography of major editions of her writings.

Bibliography

Visit the Emily previous hitDickinson Museum site to find out more about her letters and a bibliography of major editions of her writings.