In 1882, four years before Emily Dickinson died, her neighbor Mabel Loomis Todd painted a watercolor of Indian Pipes as a gift to her. Then, in 1890, the same image appeared on the cover of the first posthumous edition of Dickinson’s poems.
The photograph was made at Mrs. Todd’s gravestone in Wildwood Cemetery in Amherst, Massachusetts, where the image is also duplicated.
In a thank you letter to Mrs. Todd, Dickinson wrote:
“That without suspecting it you should send me the preferred flower of life, seems almost supernatural…I still cherish the clutch with which I bore it from the ground when a wondering Child, an unearthly booty, and maturity only enhances the mystery, never decreases it.” E.D.