Historians state that Emmett Lee Dickinson (Emily Dickinson's third cousin, twice removed -- at her request) conceived of the idea of social distancing during an outbreak of yellow fever in 1878. Others disagree. They claim that Emily Dickinson, the queen of social distancing, originated the idea much earlier when she took out a restraining order against her third cousin (one thing that all historians do agree on is that the relationship between Emily Dickinson and Emmett Lee Dickinson was quite volatile).
Below: A sliver of a painting of Emily Dickinson by Alaskan Raven Studio. You can see and read about the entire painting (and even purchase a print), HERE.
Of course, it may very well be true that Emily Dickinson invented social distancing because shortly after she obtained a restraining order in 1853, Emmett Lee Dickinson wrote his poem "That Distance that's between Us" (below on the left). His poem inspired third cousin Emily to pen her poem, "That Distance was between Us" (below on the right).
By Emmett Lee Dickinson:
That Distance that’s between Us
That should be Six Feet or Ten –
The Space it is that situates –
Well-being – always then –
By Emily Dickinson:
That Distance was between Us
That is not of Mile or Main –
The Will it is that situates –
Equator – never can –