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Item 1230 - Emily Dickinson Catalog 591 (Sep 2020)

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(we are no longer accepting bids on this item)
Minimum Bid: $5,000.00
Sold Price: $42,350.00 (includes buyer's premium)


Amazing handwritten 'letter-poem' in pencil by Emily Dickinson, one page, 5 x 8, no date but likely circa Christmas 1883 [as dated by Thomas H. Johnson, editor of Dickinson's letters]. Dickinson writes to Adelaide Hills, in full: "Santa Claus comes with a Smile and a Tear. Santa Claus has been robbed, not by Burglars but Angels. The Children will pray for Santa Claus?" In fine condition. Accompanied by a handsome custom-made full leather case with gilt titles and decorations. Any autographic material from Dickinson—a recluse who did not achieve notoriety in her lifetime—is extraordinarily rare, and this is the first we have ever offered.

This handwritten 'letter-poem' was published as No. 877 in Thomas H. Johnson's collection of The Letters of Emily Dickinson, first published in 1958. At that time, the original manuscript had been lost, and he copied the text from a transcript made by George Frisbie Whicher of the autograph when it was still in the possession of Mrs. Hills's daughter, Mrs. Susan H. Skillings. It was not until 1995 that this manuscript resurfaced, a discovery announced in the Emily Dickinson International Society Bulletin (Vol. 7, No. 1, May/June 1995). Rendered in her distinctive, slanted handwriting, this unique Christmas poem is a true rarity and would be the centerpiece of any American literary collection.

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