Emily Dickinson's Herbarium
Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2006 - 207 pages
In a letter from 1845, the 14-year-old Emily Dickinson asked her friend Abiah Root if she had started collecting flowers and plants for a herbarium: "it would be such a treasure to you; 'most all the girls are making one." Emily's own album of more than 400 pressed flowers and plants, carefully preserved, has long been a treasure of Harvard's Houghton Library. This beautifully produced, slipcased volume now makes it available to all readers interested in the life and writings of Emily Dickinson.
The care that Emily put into her herbarium, as Richard Sewall points out, goes far beyond what one might expect of a botany student her age: "Take Emily's herbarium far enough, and you have her." The close observation of nature was a lifelong passion, and Emily used her garden flowers as emblems in her poetry and her correspondence. Each page of the album is reproduced in full color at full size, accompanied by a transcription of Dickinson's handwritten labels. Introduced by a substantial literary and biographical essay, and including a complete botanical catalog and index, this volume will delight scholars, gardeners, and all readers of Emily Dickinson's poetry.