8. It’s a myth that Dickinson only wore white.
Due to her reclusive nature, legends and myth about Dickinson’s personality and eccentricities spread. Before her death, Dickinson often wore a white dress and told her family that she wanted a white coffin and wished to be dressed in a white robe. But the widespread rumor that she only wore white was false. In a letter, she made a reference to owning a brown dress, and photos of her show her wearing dark clothing. For several decades, the Amherst Historical Society and Emily Dickinson Museum have displayed the poet’s well-known white dress (as well as a replica).
9. Her brother’s mistress edited and published her poetry.
In 1883, Dickinson’s brother Austin started an affair with a writer named Mabel Loomis Todd. Todd and Emily Dickinson exchanged letters but never met in person. After Dickinson’s death, the poet’s younger sister, Lavinia, asked Todd to help arrange Dickinson’s poems to be published. So Todd teamed up with Thomas Higginson to edit and publish Dickinson’s work, creating an awkward family dynamic between Dickinson’s brother, sister, and sister-in-law. After publishing the first volume in 1890, Todd and Higginson published a second collection of Dickinson’s poetry the next year. Todd even wrote articles and gave lectures about the poems, and she went on to edit Dickinson’s letters and a third volume of her poems.