September 23, 2004
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.- The Emily Dickinson Museum will sponsor a lecture by Dickinson scholar Martha Nell Smith, a professor of English at the University of Maryland, about the poet's fascinating niece, "Martha Dickinson Bianchi: Poet, Novelist, Pianist, Editor ... Niece," on Sunday, Oct. 10, at 3 p.m. in the Cole Assembly Room in Converse Hall at Amherst College. The program is free and open to the public.

Smith will present a biographical portrait of one of the women most influential in fostering Emily Dickinson's legacy in the 20th century. In a family filled with interesting personalities, Martha Dickinson Bianchi's is among the most interesting and least understood. Chiefly known now for her significance in preserving the Dickinson legacy through the editing of her aunt Emily's poems and her care in preserving The Evergreens, Bianchi was accomplished in her own right as a writer, scholar, musician and intellectual. Smith will offer an illuminating portrait of the woman whose aunt once said of her, "We almost question where we are, without our martial Mattie." Bianchi's heirs were instrumental in saving The Evergreens, her parents' home, which is now part of the Emily Dickinson Museum.

Smith, who is also director of the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities at the University of Maryland, is the author of Rowing in Eden: Rereading Emily Dicknson (1992), Open Me Carefully: Emily Dickinson's Intimate Letters to Susan Dickinson (coauthored with Ellen Louise Hart, 1998) and the Blackwell Companion to Emily Dickinson (with Mary Loeffelholz, forthcoming in 2005). The recipient of many awards for her work on Dickinson and in new media, Smith is coordinator and general editor of the Dickinson Electronic Archives projects at the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities at the University of Virginia, and a founding member of the Emily Dickinson International Society.

The Emily Dickinson Museum consists of two historic houses, the Homestead and The Evergreens. The Museum is owned by the Trustees of Amherst College. Other upcoming events include "Margaret Maher's Amherst- Emily Dickinson's Maid and Muse," a walking tour on Saturday, October 23. In October the Museum is open Wednesday through Saturday from 1-5 p.m., and will also be open on Sunday, Oct. 10, from 1 to 5 p.m. Please visit the Museum's Website at for more information about guided tours and other programs. For more information about this lecture, please contact Cindy Dickinson, director of interpretation and programming, at 413/542-8429.