June 11, 2000
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass. - Professor Ellen Louise Hart, one of the leading experts on the manuscripts of Amherst native Emily Dickinson, will give a talk in the Barnett Reading Room of the College's Archives and Special Collections at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, July 19. The talk, titled "Editing in Amherst: The History and Mystery of Emily Dickinson's Manuscripts to Susan Dickinson," is open to the public at no charge.

Hart, who teaches in the writing program at the University of California, Santa Cruz, is co-editor (with Martha Nell Smith) of Open Me Carefully: Emily Dickinson's Intimate Letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson, and co-editor (with Smith and Marta Werner) of the Dickinson Electronic Archives. She has written extensively on Dickinson and editing, including her doctoral dissertation, "New Strategies for Editing Emily Dickinson's Writing." Her talk will outline important issues in Dickinson editing, and will concentrate on her use of the "Dickinson Collection," an assortment of manuscripts that belong to Amherst College. Parts of the Dickinson Collection, which includes much of the correspondence between Emily and Susan Huntington Dickinson, as well as some of Dickinson's fascicle poems, unbound poems, drafts and other fragments, will be on display in the John William Ward Exhibition Room at Archives and Special Collections, located on the "A" Level of Robert Frost Library.

Hart, who received her masters in English literature in 1982 from Mills College in Oakland, Calif., will also address the importance of manuscript collections in educating both academic and non-academic-schooled and un-schooled readers-about the enduring pleasures of Dickinson studies, with which she has concerned most of her career. Hart has published on Dickinson in Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature, The Heath Anthology of American Literature, The Emily Dickinson Bulletin and The Emily Dickinson Journal. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Emily Dickinson International Society since 1995, and is presently its treasurer.

Hart is a 1976 graduate of Mount Holyoke College, which was known as the Mount Holyoke Female Seminary in the mid-1800s when Dickinson studied there for several years.