Kate Scott Turner (March 12, 1831, Cooperstown, New York – 1917) was a friend of Emily Dickinson and a poet herself.[1] She was also known as Kate Anthon. Recent scholars such as Patterson, Lillian Faderman, and Woodul have argued that Dickinson's "seemingly curious" life makes sense if seen from a lesbian perspective that includes the many women who were close to her, such as Sue Gilbert and Kate Scott Turner.

Catherine Mary ("Kate") Scott was the daughter of Henry Scott of Cooperstown, New York.[2] She attended the Utica Female Seminary, where in 1848 she met Susan Gilbert, who married Emily Dickinson's brother Austin Dickinson.[3] The women remained friends until Susan's death[4] in 1913.[5]

In 1855, she married Campbell Ladd Turner, who died in 1857 of tuberculosis.[2][4] Turner was acquainted with Emily Dickinson through Susan, and they remained so until the mid-1860s.[3] Turner married for a second time in 1866 to John Hone Anthon, who died eight years later. She died in 1917 in England, having lived most of her life outside of the United States.[2]

She met Emily Dickinson in 1859.[2] From that time until about 1862, Dickinson sent her four poems.[3] One poem was sent with a pair of garters that Dickinson had knitted for her:

When Katie walks, this simple pair accompany her side,
When Katie runs unwearied they follow on the road,
When Katie kneels, their loving hands still clasp her pious knee —
Ah! Katie! Smile at Fortune, with two so knit to thee!
Emily Dickinson[3]

Dickinson developed "a revolutionary poetic style", according to a research paper by psychiatrist John F. McDermott,[6] following her relationship and rejection by Turner in 1861, which precipitated an emotional crisis and had a profound effect on her future work.[7]


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