Poe’s Memorial Grave — Stereoptican View Card


Stereopticon view card of Poe's Memorial Grave

Stereopticon view card of Poe's Memorial Grave, about 1900.

This stereopticon view card was published by W. M. Chase, Baltimore, Maryland as part of a series called “The Beautiful in Architecture and Landscape,” about 1900. It is essentially a carefully matched pair of albumen prints, affixed to a hardboard card, measuring 7 inches wide by 3 1/2 inches high. A similar card was published by Alfred S. Campbell in Elizabeth, NJ, and copyrighted as 1896.

These cards were viewed in a hand-held or table-top device called a Stereopticon, sometimes also called a Stereograph or Stereoscope. When fitted with a card and properly focused, the device created the illusion of a 3-dimensional image. (The two photographs are slightly different from each other, replicating the view of two human eyes.) The Stereoptican was invented about 1838, but achieved widespread popularity after the Civil War.

The building visible in the background was the “Female Primary and Grammar School No. 1.” Built in 1875, it was torn down in the late 1980s to make way for a Veterans Hospital, which opened in 1994. (The lot had previously been the site of the High School, known as Western Female High School, until 1858, after which the high school was moved to a larger building on Fayette, near Paca. This earlier building was opened in 1846, and thus was overlooking the cemetery when Poe was buried in 1849. The later building was used 1858-1896, and readings were held there in 1865 to help raise money for the Poe monument. None of these school buildings still exist.) The equivalent building for the male school still stands on the Northeastern corner of the same intersection. That building is owned by the University of Maryland, School of Law, and now serves as the Maryland Bar Center (as of 1985).


[S:1 - JAS] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Baltimore - Poe's Memorial Grave - Stereopticon View Card