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This past spring, Houghton Library collaborated with the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst and the North Bennet Street School in Boston to create exact reproductions of the writing desk and bureau originally in Emily Dickinson’s bedroom in the Homestead. Since 1950, the two iconic pieces have been part of the Emily Dickinson Collection at the [...]

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In her formative years, the American poet Emily Dickinson’s interests centered on the study of voice and especially piano, for which she displayed considerable accomplishment and ambition. Her correspondence supplies the background for these activities while the contents of her music book provides a revealing perspective on just how assiduously and enthusiastically she collected, listened [...]

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Song of the Bell(s)

While we don’t usually acquire multiple copies of the same book, we broke that rule with two recent accessions. Friedrich Schiller (1759-1805) published Das Lied von der Glocke (“The Song of the Bell”) in 1798.  It remains one of the most well-known German poems, and has been translated into many languages. In 1873, the Dryden [...]

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Runaway Groom

Modern has recently acquired the Report of the Proceedings in the Cause of Mary Alice Orford, versus Thomas Butler Cole, Esq. for a breach of promise of marriage…, published in 1818 following the trial on March 30th of that year. This sensational case was, according to The Times, “the subject of general conversation throughout the [...]

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Winifred Coombe Tennant (1874-1956) was a Welsh writer, politician, suffragette, and patron of the arts.  While her work to promote Welsh art, history, and culture are well known–and is extensively documented in her papers at the National Library of Wales–a group of papers bequeathed by Mrs. Coombe Tennant to the Houghton Library sheds new light [...]

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Wild flowers

In 1846, while living at Brook Farm (the Transcendentalist utopian experiment in communal living) in West Roxbury, Massachusetts, artist Marianne Dwight (later Orvis) compiled this album of watercolor flower portraits.  Dwight (1816-1901) made a living creating lampshades and paintings, and her detailed punchwork designs can be seen on the cover of the album (click the [...]

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Dragonsinger

Among our recent new acquisitions is a manuscript collection of Anne McCaffrey’s 1977 novel Dragonsinger, the second book in her Harper Hall trilogy and a part of the Dragonriders of Pern series. McCaffrey, a Radcliffe alum originally from Cambridge, has authored over 90 works.  This collection follows the creation of the novel, originally titled “The [...]

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“The Wind begun to rock the Grass,” by Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) is one of the most textually interesting in her corpus.She revised it over a period of nearly twenty years, and five versions survive: four in autograph, and one transcript of a lost autograph original.That “lost” original has now been recovered, and has found a [...]

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In 1910, Horace de Vere Cole and five friends, including Virginia Stephen (who would marry Leonard Woolf in 1912) and her brother Adrian Stephen (a classmate of Cole’s), coordinated and successfully carried out an elaborate hoax against the Royal Navy. Cole began by sending a telegram to the HMS Dreadnought, moored in Dorset, telling the [...]

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Dainty science

For our inaugural post, may we present: Published in the mid-1820s, Musée des Dames et des Demoiselles includes six small books covered in lavender paper and packed together in a blue and gilt paper gift box. Each book covers a different area of science appropriate for delicate demoiselles: fruit, flowers, minerals, butterflies, insects, and birds. [...]

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