Far ahead of the curve on the possibilities of digitally-born critical inquiries, Martha Nell Smith has been leading the way toward a new age of textual scholarship. After beginning the Dickinson Electronic Archives in 1997 and serving as the founding director for the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities in 1999, Smith became a luminary in the world of digital humanities. Her latest contribution to Dickinson digital scholarship, Emily Dickinson's Corresponsdences: A Born-Digital Textual Inquiry (University of Virginia Rotunda Press, 2008) is a collaboration with Maryland PhD alumna Lara Vetter. This new collection gives scholars unprecedented access to an incredible body of writings by Emily Dickinson and Susan Dickinson, allowing users to search by date, genre, manuscript features, and full text.
Smith's international reputation as a top Dickinson scholar is founded on her seminal print publications. With books such as Open Me Carefully: Emily Dickinson's Intimate Letters to Susan Dickinson (Paris Press, 1998), Comic Power in Emily Dickinson (Texas, 1993), Rowing in Eden (Texas, 1992), and, most recently with Mary Loeffelholz, Blackwell's Companion to Emily Dickinson, Smith has established herself as a much sought after expert in her field. Her commitment to the classrooms wins equal praise from students and colleagues, leading to her appointment as a Distinguished Scholar-Teacher at the university.