Is It Really Emily Dickinson?
Abstract

Abstract:

Only one authentic photograph of Emily Dickinson is known to exist. In April of 2000, Professor Philip Gura of the University of North Carolina purchased off eBay a photograph which he believes to be a second photograph of Dickinson. He knew he had an uphill battle to establish its authenticity since it is known that fake photographs of famous people are often offered for sale on eBay. Professor Gura’s research has not resulted in a positive identification of his photograph as being Dickinson. Nevertheless, because it has appeared in a number of publications, there is a growing public perception that the photograph is authentic. The claims offered in its support have been re-examined and new evidence has been accessed. Among other things, substantial differences are shown to exist between the facial characteristics of the woman in the Gura photograph and those of Dickinson displayed in her known authentic photograph. These include differences in the configuration of the chin, mouth, nose, eyes, and hair, all of the principal features that one would examine to establish identity. Several of these characterizing features, which are not displayed in the Gura photograph, appear to be hereditary, since they also appear in other images of Dickinson family members and ancestors.