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Call No.: MS Am 1118.13
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Creator: Dickinson, Emily, 1830-1886, recipient.
Title: Emily Dickinson botanical specimens,
Quantity: 1 collection (.3 linear feet (6 folders in 1 box)
Language of materials: Collection materials are in English.
Abstract: Pressed botanical specimens sent to poet Emily Dickinson, most of which are labeled with geographic locations in the Middle East.
Emily Dickinson's finished Herbarium of 424 pressed specimens of plants is held at Houghton Library (MS Am 1118.11), as is a smaller, unfinished herbarium (MS Am 1118.12).
Emily Dickinson, poet of Amherst, Massachusetts, received formal training in botany and horticulture while a student at Amherst Academy from age 9 to 16. Her devotion to the science of and appreciation for plants came naturally, however. She joined her mother in gardening from an early age and took charge of a family conservatory in her twenties. Her herbarium (MS Am 1118.11) was produced during her years at Amherst Academy. These botanical specimens were never mounted in that or any other herbarium.Nada Sinno Saoud, Post Herbarium Curator, American University of Beirut, has provided some tentative plant identifications.It is possible that some or all of the labeled specimens were sent to Dickinson by Abby Wood Bliss, a schoolmate from Amherst Academy, who went to the Middle East as a missionary wife in 1855. Eleanor Johnson, a descendent of Abby Bliss, believes the handwriting on the labels for the Middle East specimens to be Abby's.
Arranged into the following series:
- I. Specimens with labels
- II. Unidentified specimens
This collection consists of two groups of botanical specimens. The first group is specimens sewn contemporaneously onto cut pieces of notepaper, a few of which retain an embossed paper mark in the upper left corner. These are from Europe and the Middle East, presumably sent to Dickinson by friends. The second group is specimens that were loose when received by the Library, and are now mounted onto cardstock for their better preservation. None of these were identified, and they have been reconstructed and mounted as best as they could be assembled.