Poe, Edgar Allan, 1809-1849

Alternative names
Birth 1809-01-19
Death 1849-10-07
Japanese, English, Indonesian

Biographical notes:

Edgar Allan Poe was an American author, poet, and critic.

From the description of Edgar Allan Poe collection, 1845-1934. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 122314229

From the guide to the Edgar Allan Poe collection, 1845-1934, (The New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division.)

Poe was an American poet, critic, and short-story writer.

From the description of Collection, 1830-1895. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 122468831

From the guide to the Collection, 1830-1895., (Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University)

Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) was an American poet, critic, and editor.

From the description of Poe-Chivers papers, 1827-1885. (Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens). WorldCat record id: 122499674

American author and poet.

From the description of Collection of Edgar Allan Poe material [manuscript], 1823-1849. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 647899019

American writer.

From the description of The prisoner of Perote [manuscript], n.d. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 647810627

Charles Dickens was a British novelist, short story writer, essayist and journalist.

From the guide to the Charles Dickens collection of papers, 1833]-[1975, 1833-1909, (The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.)

Critic, poet, and author.

From the description of Collection concerning Edgar Allan Poe, 1845-1952. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 79449393

Historical Note: This is an artificial collection of secondary material about Edgar Allan Poe. Four of the creators, John Calvin French, May Garrettson Evans, Kenneth Rede and Carrie Hoopes Bohanan were members of the Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore, and their collections probably came to Hopkins through the offices of John Calvin French, the Hopkins librarian in the 1930s. Mary E. Phillips donated her material to the Society, and George W.M. Harrison added clippings to the collection as he began processing it in the early 1980s.

From the description of Edgar Allan Poe collection, 1875-1985. (Johns Hopkins University). WorldCat record id: 48369130

American short story author, literary critic, and poet.

From the description of Edgar Allan Poe Collection, 1766-1974 (bulk 1829-1850). (Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center (HRC); University of Texas at Austin). WorldCat record id: 122640570

American author.

From the description of Minutes and signature [manuscript], 1826. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 647806549

From the description of Minutes and signature, 1826. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 32958669

From the description of Letter and engraving [manuscript] 1901 Aug. 1. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 647938107

American poet, critic, short story writer, editor.

From the description of Papers of Edgar Allan Poe, 1836-1955. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 49378316

Edgar Allan Poe was born January 19, 1809 in Boston, Massachusetts and he died October 7, 1849 in Baltimore, Maryland. He is buried in the Westminster Presbyterian Churchyard in Baltimore, Maryland. His parents died when he was a young child and he was unofficially adopted in 1811 by John and Frances Allan. He married his cousin Virginia Clemm May 16, 1836. She died in 1847. Mr. Poe attended Manor House School in Stoke Newington, England, the University of Virginia, and the United States Military Academy at West Point, from which he was dismissed. He pursued a literary career. Biographical Source: Something About the Author, vol. 23, p. 167-192.

From the description of Edgar Allan Poe Collection 1966. (University of Minnesota, Minneapolis). WorldCat record id: 462884124

From the guide to the Edgar Allan Poe Collection, 1966, (University of Minnesota Libraries Children's Literature Research Collections [clrc])

Edgar Poe was born in Boston, January 19, 1809, the second child of Eliza Arnold Poe, a well-known actress, and David Poe, Jr., also an actor. Early in 1810, David Poe abandoned his family; nothing is known of his fate. Later that same year Eliza gave birth to her third child, Rosalie. By the summer of 1811, Eliza's health was failing and she died on December 8, 1811, in Richmond, Virginia, at the age of twenty-four. The eldest son went to live with the Poe family in Baltimore, the infant daughter went to a Richmond family named MacKenzie, and Edgar was taken in by John and Frances (Fanny) Allan.

John Allan, a partner in the trading firm The House of Ellis and Allan, promised to provide Edgar with a liberal education and he certainly provided the boy with a standard of living superior to the one to which he had been accustomed. The House of Ellis and Allan was prospering so well that in 1815 they decided to open an office in London. Six-and-a-half-year-old Edgar accompanied John and Fanny to England where he attended several boarding schools. After a slow beginning, the London offices seemed to be doing well. However, in 1819 the bottom fell out of the tobacco market, the business was ruined, and the family returned to Virginia in 1820.

As John Allan sought to regain his financial footing, Edgar continued his schooling, doing well in Latin, French, and sports, often leading the other boys in games and battle drills. Poe faced many of the psychological problems associated with orphans--feelings of abandonment and a need to not just succeed, but to win--and the fact that John Allan never formally adopted him seems to have added to his emotional issues.

In 1825 a wealthy relative died and left a large fortune to John Allan, immediately solving his business and financial woes. In 1826 Poe entered the University of Virginia, then in its second year. Poe acquitted himself well as a student, studying ancient and modern languages, but also ran up debts which added to the growing friction between himself and Allan. Poe wished to remain at the University beyond the usual one-year term, but Allan refused, wishing instead for Poe to settle himself in some business. After a series of angry clashes, Poe left the Allan home in Richmond and went to Boston. Finding it difficult to support himself, Poe enlisted in the Army. He remained there for two years, reaching the rank of Sergeant Major for artillery, before deciding that he had had enough. He sought Allan's aid in obtaining a discharge but help came grudgingly and only after Poe declared his intention to attend West Point.

Poe's term at West Point lasted just a year, from March of 1830 to March of 1831. He performed well in the beginning, but late in the year John Allan remarried (Fanny Allan had died while Edgar was in the army) and wrote to Poe stating his wish for an end to their relationship. These events affected Poe's desire for the military life and he set about getting himself court-martialed and discharged from West Point. From there he went to New York City. In April he made his way to Baltimore to seek aid from the remaining members of his father's family. He moved in with his aunt, Maria Clemm and her daughter, Virginia. Over the next three years little is known about Poe's activities. He had difficulty supporting himself, he may have been briefly engaged, or at least attached, to a young woman whose family objected, and he spent time with his brother who was also living in Baltimore. He also wrote a great deal. He had been writing steadily over the previous ten years, publishing two small pamphlets at his own expense, and his goal became making a living with his writing.

In 1834 Poe married his cousin Virginia, who was not quite fourteen at the time, and began seriously seeking a means of supporting "his family." In the spring of 1835, the family moved back to Richmond where Poe took a position with the Southern Literary Messenger . Poe used the opportunity to publish several of his poems and short tales in the paper, but he also began developing his reputation as a pugnacious critic by contributing scathing reviews of popular contemporary authors. In 1837 Poe left his position as editor of the Messenger by mutual agreement with the owner after a number of disagreements over Poe's vicious articles.

Poe spent the rest of his life attempting to establish himself as a creditable force on the American literary scene. He tried to start his own literary paper on several occasions, but when that failed he continued to work for other papers in the capacity of critic and editor, most notably Burton's Gentleman's Magazine in Philadelphia (1839-1840) and The Broadway Journal in New York (1845). Poe's desire to be in charge, his vituperative critical attacks on people he disliked or disagreed with, coupled with an ongoing problem with alcohol made it difficult for him to maintain a long-term working relationship with magazine owners and editors.

In 1847 Virginia Poe died after a long battle with tuberculosis. Poe was devastated. Suffering ill-health himself, and beaten down after his long battle with poverty, he continued to write and lecture, but his mental state seemed to decline. He was found unconscious on a street in Baltimore in the fall of 1849 and he died on October 7. A brief obituary in the Baltimore Clipper reported that he died of "congestion of the brain." It has been assumed by most scholars that alcoholism killed Poe, but a new theory which is gaining credence speculates that Poe actually died of rabies.

From the guide to the Edgar Allan Poe Collection TXRC99-A0., 1766-1974 (bulk 1829-1850), (The University of Texas at Austin, Harry Ransom Center)


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  • Mystery and detective stories
  • American literature--19th century
  • Book Clubs (Discussion Groups)
  • Versification
  • American literature
  • Fantasy poetry, American
  • Short stories
  • Copyright
  • Books--Pirated editions
  • Authors, American--19th century--Correspondence
  • Group reading
  • Scholarly periodicals
  • American drama--Translations into Indonesian
  • Periodicals--history
  • Poets, American
  • Wit and humor
  • Literature--Societies, etc.--19th century
  • Poetics
  • Horror--Poetry
  • Book reviewing
  • Periodicals--Publishing
  • American poetry
  • Poetry, Modern--19th century
  • American poetry--19th century
  • Fiction--19th century
  • Horror tales, American
  • Ciegos--Libros y lectura
  • Phrenology
  • Literary patrons--19th century


  • Poets
  • Critic
  • Authors


  • Bronx (New York, N.Y.) (as recorded)
  • New York (N.Y.) (as recorded)
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) (as recorded)
  • New York (State) (as recorded)
  • Richmond (Va.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)