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Emily Dickinson Archive announced, and a controversy between Harvard and Amherst College surfaces

Posted by Your Town  October 24, 2013 11:17 AM

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This week, Harvard University rolls out the Emily Dickinson Archive that digitally gathers, for the first time in one place, all surviving Dickinson autograph manuscripts and letters, along with contemporary transcripts of Dickinson poems that did not survive in autograph, the Boston Globe reported.

But the project has not been without controversy, according to the Globe and a follow up article in the Harvard Crimson that details tension between Harvard and Amherst College.

According to the Globe, Amherst officials say, the project has been driven by Harvard with little feedback and input accepted.

“We’re not allowed to have control over the look of the site and the functionality of the site,” said Mike Kelly, head of archives and special collections at Amherst College.

The site makes little mention of Amherst’s contributions. “It should say a joint project,” Kelly said, according to the Globe.

According to the Crimson, "Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences spokesperson Colin Manning wrote in an email Tuesday that the project was collaborative."

“Harvard made it a point to reach out to all of these institutions and organizations, including Amherst College, in an effort to bring together manuscripts from multiple libraries and archives, which makes this new site a powerful tool for students, scholars and readers,” he wrote to the Crimson.

However, the Crimson said the controversy over where the manuscripts should be held dates back 50 years.

Further coverage in the New York Times, US News, NPR and the Washington Post.

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