"Soon after Emily's death," Todd later recalled, "Lavinia came to me... actually trembling with excitement. She told me she had discovered a veritable treasure -- quantities of Emily's poems which she had no instructions to destroy... These poems, she told me, must be printed at once."
Todd spent the next four years sorting and editing Dickinson's work. The first volume of her poems was published in November 1890, and sold out six printings in five months.
[The notion that Dickinson's family was unaware of her work is disputed by some scholars, among them Ruth Miller, author of the acclaimed Poetry of Emily Dickinson and The Myth of Amherst.]