Does Photo Show Emily Dickinson Was a Lesbian?

Collector donates second known photograph of the poet to university archives

by Lesley Kennedy • MORE.com Reporter

If you’ve ever been eager to put a face to the many notable poems of Emily Dickinson, you may have your (second) chance.

The Associated Press reports a collector has donated a daguerreotype of the poet to Amherst College, dating to 1859 or so—only the second known photo of Dickinson, experts say—in which she is pictured with a friend, Kate Scott Turner. It has been proposed that Dickinson and Turner were in a lesbian relationship, according to the news service.

“This is photographic evidence of their friendship, whatever the nature of that friendship was,” Mike Kelly, head of the Amherst archive and special-collections department, tells the AP. “… This is really when she’s coming into the height of her powers. To see her as this fully mature woman rather than this sickly little girl, I think it just shifts the way people think about what she’s writing.”

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