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Emily Dickinson Illustrated Editions Collection

Identifier: 03-01-exws_dickinson

Scope and Contents

This collection is housed in one box. It contains various edited materials related to the publication of Poems of Youth and A Murmur in the Trees, both of which contain collected poems by Emily Dickinson, and were published between 1995 and 1998. This collections is comprised of proofs and unbound draft prints, pamphlets with layout drafts from the publisher, Little Brown and Company, Boston, MA for Poems of Youth. This section also includes edited poems and sketches, handwritten notes and post-it notes. The second half of this collection contains edited proofs, illustration information, and a copy of agreement between Ferris Cook and Little, Brown company for the publication of A Murmur in the Trees with the accompanying drawings.


  • Creation: 1995-1998


Conditions Governing Access

WMU Special Collections. Non-circulating. Contact department for access.

Emily Dickinson, Author

Emily Dickinson wrote more than 1,700 poems, most of which were not published until after her death. The majority of the poems chosen for this collection were written for Dickinson's niece and nephews, who lived in the house next to hers in Amherst, Massachusetts. Rarely leaving the confines of her house and yard, Dickinson passed these small messages across the lawn to her sister-in-law to share with her children.

Thomas B. Allen, Illustrator

Thomas B. Allen was born on January 28, 1928, in Nashville. Mr. Allen attended Vanderbilt University on a football scholarship but left for the Art Institute. Upon graduating, he joined the Marines, although before reporting for duty he visited New York to seek out editorial illustration assignments. The first came from Esquire's art director, Henry Wolf, who after Mr. Allen's discharge commissioned him to do full-page color paintings and more intricate visual essays. Soon Mr. Allen was getting a string of editorial jobs from Seventeen, Colliers, McCall's and Sports Illustrated, as well as advertising work from NBC. His passion for the environment and Americana led to illustrating and writing more than a dozen children's books, including Good-bye, Charles Lindbergh: Based on a True Story by Louise Borden, and In Coal Country, by Judith Hendershot. This spring he completed the illustrations for Grandma's General Store: The Ark by Dorothy Carter, to be published in 2005. Mr. Allen divided his career between doing illustration and teaching it. In 1983 he was named Hallmark Professor at the University of Kansas, and he was later chair of the illustration department at the Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, where he taught until his death on November 8, 2004 at his home in Sarasota, Florida.

Ferris Cook, Illustrator

Ferris Cook is an artist and book illustrator who lives in upstate New York. Since 1990, she has illustrated and edited many books with collections of poetry and essays including: Odes to Common Things (Pablo Neruda), Odes to Opposites (Pablo Neruda), The Sonnets of Shakespeare, A Murmur in the Trees (Emily Dickinson), The Rose Window (Rilke), Bark (a collection of poetry about dogs), Yowl (a collection of poetry about cats), Garden Dreams and Remembered Gardens (both collections of essays on gardening), Gifts of Love (a collection of love poems), as well as The Garden Trellis, which she wrote and illustrated. Her latest work is an illustrated Arabic edition of Pablo Neruda's 100 Love Sonnets.


1 boxes

Language of Materials



This collection is comprised primarily of drafts, proofs, layout plans, and illustrations pertaining to the creation of Poems for Youth and A Murmur in the Trees, both books containing collections of poems written by Emily Dickinson and published by Little Brown and Company.


Original order of the contents of each box has been maintained.

Little Brown and Company, Publisher

Founded in Boston in 1837, when Charles Little and James Brown formed a partnership “for the purpose of Publishing, Importing and Selling Books.” The company was primarily a bookseller at first, as were most publishing firms of that day, and has in fact traced its roots back even further – to 1784 and a bookstore opened on Marlborough Street by Ebenezer Battelle. Mr. Little and Mr. Brown began by publishing the works of Benjamin Franklin and George Washington, and highlights of their early lists include Edward Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, The Letters of John Adams, the speeches of Daniel Webster, and Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.’s landmark The Common Law. In 1859 the company took over publishing rights to a book entitled Familiar Quotations by John Bartlett. The eighteenth edition of the now familiar Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations, with Geoffrey O’Brien as General Editor, arrived in 2012. To this day, Little, Brown remains committed to publishing fiction of the highest quality and nonfiction of lasting significance. The company’s bestselling novelists include J.D. Salinger, Herman Wouk, James Patterson, Anita Shreve, Michael Connelly, Alice Sebold, Janet Fitch, Pete Hamill, Emma Donoghue, David Foster Wallace, Kate Atkinson, Stephenie Meyer and Elin Hilderbrand. In its early days, Little, Brown published Little Women and Little Men by Louisa May Alcott, Man Without a Country by Edward Everett Hale, and the poetry of Emily Dickinson.
Emily Dickinson Illustrated Editions Collection finding aid
Amanda Sidwell, Abbey Buckham, and Ciara Larson
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Western Michigan University Special Collections Repository

Western Michigan University Libraries, Special Collections
Zhang Legacy Collections Center
1650 Oakland Drive
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5307 US
(269) 387-8490