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Emily Elizabeth Dickinson was born on December 10, 1830, in Amherst, Massachusetts. Her paternal grandfather, Samuel Dickinson, was well known as the founder of Amherst College.

Her father worked at Amherst and served as a state legislator.

Her girlhood relationships, her “Master Letters,” and her relationship with Judge Otis Lord form the backbone of these discussions.

Dickinson’s school days and young adulthood included several significant male friends, among them Benjamin Newton, a law student in her father’s office; Henry Vaughn Emmons, an Amherst College student; and George Gould, an Amherst College classmate of the poet’s brother Austin.

Only fifteen manuscripts in Dickinson’s hand survive from their correspondence, most in draft or fragmentary form.