Text: John Carl Miller, “Chapter 6,” Building Poe Biography (1977), pp. 147-194 (This material is protected by copyright)


[page 146, unnumbered:]


Annie Richmond’s Trust Is Betrayed

EDGAR POE went to Lowell, Massachusetts, in July, 1848, to deliver a public lecture on “The Poets and Poetry of America”; while there he met Mrs. Nancy Locke Heywood Richmond, with whom he was to fall in love, and to whom he addressed numerous letters and at least one great poem. He had been invited to lecture in Lowell through the kind office of Mrs. Frances Sargent Osgood, wife of the well-known portrait painter S. S. Osgood; his hostess in Lowell was to be Mrs. Osgood’s cousin by marriage, Mrs. John G. Locke* (née Jane Ermina Starkweather). Poe had corresponded with Mrs. Locke, who was one of the more energetic female poets of the day and who was very proud to be entertaining the rather notorious Mr. Poe in her house, which she called “Wamesit Cottage.” But when Poe’s successful lecture was over, and he had been introduced to Mrs. Richmond, he went with the Richmonds to their Ames Street home and remained there for the rest of his visit in Lowell. This transfer of his person from the Lockes’ home to the Richmonds’ caused a rupture in the relations among all concerned.

Poe made at least three more visits to the Richmonds in Lowell and he celebrated Mrs. Richmond as “Annie” under a thin guise of fiction in his “Landor’s Cottage,” thereafter calling her by that name. Her husband, Charles B. Richmond, was a well-to-do paper manufacturer in Lowell and his tolerance of Poe’s fervent addresses to his wife was threatened only by Mrs. Locke’s machinations against Poe. On one occasion, Annie Richmond went to Fordham for the purpose of meeting Mrs. Clemm. After Poe’s death, she cared for Mrs. Clemm in her Lowell home on numerous visits that lasted for months at the time.

Poe was thirty-nine years old when he met Annie, and she was twenty-eight. She was a handsome, pleasant, warm-hearted young [page 147:] matron enjoying social and economic distinction in Lowell, and busying herself with her family, numerous friends, activities in the Unitarian church, and local charities. She was not literary, as almost all the women around Poe aspired to be, and she brought to him a personality that he found refreshing and restful. His letters show that he quickly grew to love her, as a man loves the woman he wants to marry. As fascinated as she was by Poe’s personality and genius, Mrs. Richmond had no intention of divorcing her husband and marrying Poe. That Poe knew this makes all the more pathetic his despairing wail to Mrs. Clemm in a letter written from Richmond shortly before he died, “Do not tell me anything about Annie — I cannot bear to hear it now — unless you can tell me that Mr. R. is dead.”(1)

When Ingram opened his correspondence with Annie Richmond in 1876, he had long been in correspondence with several Americans who had known Poe intimately. Among these, perhaps the most helpful had been Sarah Helen Whitman and Marie Louise Shew Houghton. These ladies had given him names and addresses of other persons who had known Poe, and, as Ingram’s correspondence multiplied, his pattern of behavior became set: when he had elicited all he thought the correspondent could or would give to him about Poe, or if the correspondent began to press or to bore him, he broke off the relationship.

Having learned from Mrs. Whitman that Annie Richmond was still alive, Ingram wrote his first letter to her in June, 1876. Mrs. Richmond was a fifty-six-year-old widow, her husband having died in the early 1870s, and she was living in Lowell with her only daughter, who was named Carrie. For twenty-seven years she had tearfully cherished Poe’s memory and the letters he had written to her, remaining for the most part aloof from the controversies that had swirled around Poe’s name, especially after his death. Her letter in reply to Ingram’s first appeal is characteristic of her nature and disposition, mirroring as it does her warm-hearted, impulsive eagerness to help dispel the clouds over Poe’s name. She deals in hyperbole always, it seems, but her erratic sentences, emotional language, and occasional misspellings do not obscure her genuine devotion to Poe’s memory or her own fine character. Her confidences deserved better treatment, at the hands of a better man than was John Ingram. [page 148:]

Letter 41. Annie Richmond, Lowell, Massachusetts, to John Ingram, London. First printing. [Item 297]

Aug. 15 [18]76

Dear Sir,

Ever since the receipt of your kind letter (late in June) I have been endeavoring to obtain possession of a manuscript sketch of Mr. Poe, which I loaned to a gentleman, who seemed anxious to do something toward redeeming his name from the odium Griswold had cast upon it —

It was returned to me yesterday, with a note saying it had not been used, but had been “copied for further reference.” Under these circumstances, you would not I presume care for it — But there is one thing I could do for you, & were I to see you, I think I would — that is, to place my correspondence at your disposal —

I have said again & again, I could never do it, but for his dear sake, I am willing to make the sacrifice — I know that full justice cannot be done him by anyone, who has not seen the beauty & purity of his better nature, as revealed in these letters —

It may seem very strange to you, but I firmly believe they are without a parallel in the annals of love, & it seems like sacrilege to allow any human eye to look upon them, yet, for the sake of refuting the calumnies which have been heaped upon him through envy & jealousy, I can bear it — the letters themselves can bear the scrutiny of Heaven — ! It is their purity that I shrink from revealing, to those who could not comprehend it. Is it not possible for me to see you? Are you not coming to our Centennial Exhibition? I could not let my treasures go out of my keeping for one moment, but if you will come where they are they shall be at your service. I have not seen your edition of Mr. Poe’s works, but should be very glad to do so. I can never express the gratitude I feel, toward those who understand & appreciate him. Hoping to hear from you again, I am yours truly,

“Annie” L. Richmond [page 150:]

Mrs. Richmond’s offer to let Ingram see her autograph letters from Poe was unprecedented; and it certainly attests to his ability to inspire great confidence and gain great favors through his impassioned letters. Mrs. Richmond did not indeed ever let her treasures out of her keeping, but she did make copies of them for Ingram, the only copies she ever made of her letters from Poe for anyone. The autograph letters themselves, for the greater part, have disappeared; almost certainly they were burned by Mrs. Richmond after Ingram printed a number of them. These copies then, that she so trustfully made for John Ingram, are the only sources we have for the texts of Poe’s letters to her.

The “manuscript sketch of Mr. Poe” was written by Sarah H. Heywood, Annie Richmond’s younger sister, and was called “Recollections of E. A. Poe.” The gentleman to whom Mrs. Richmond had lent it was William F. Gill of Boston, and Gill printed it in his 1877 Life of Poe.

Letter 42. Annie Richmond, Lowell, to John Ingram, London. First printing. [Item 298]

Aug. 20th [18]/76

Mr. Ingram,

Dear Sir,

Since mailing my letter to you a few days since, I have reread my sister’s “recollections of Mr. Poe,” & I cannot forbear sending them to you, for their uniqueness — Coming from a school girl then in her teens, I am sure they will interest you to say the least — In this connection I am tempted to copy for you also a note which she received from him, & which she cherishes among her most sacred treasures — It will give you some idea of the nature of my correspondence with him, which was never kept secret, from any member of my immediate family

Yours very truly, A. L. Richmond

Ingram printed Sarah Heywood’s “Recollections of E. A. Poe” in his 1880 Life, referring to the article as “fresh and charming,” although it had in fact been printed before in Gill’s 1877 Life of Poe.(2) [page 151:]

Mrs. Richmond did enclose a copy of Poe’s letter of November 23, 1848, to Sarah Heywood; Ingram printed a portion of it in his article in Appleton’s Journal, May, 1878, and in his Life, II, 195-96. (For complete text, see Ostrom, II, 405-406.)

At the end of her first letter to Ingram Annie Richmond had signed her name in quotes; in this letter, she uses her initials, “A. L.” As a matter of fact, after her husband died in 1873, she had her name legally changed from “Nancy” to “Annie,” because Poe had called her by that name and had so addressed her in his beautiful poem “To Annie.”

Letter 43. Annie Richmond, Lowell, to John Ingram, London. First printing. [Item 300]

Sept. 27th [l8]76

Dear Mr. Ingram,

I herewith enclose a small portion of my long cherished & most precious treasures, trusting to your honor, that neither the living or the dead shall ever suffer in consequence, though I cannot help feeling, that it is a breach of trust for me to do it. But the deep gratitude I feel toward you for the noble work you have undertaken, (added to my own intense desire that it shall be faithfully done) has overcome my scruples, & I place these letters at your disposal, with unlimited confidence in your fidelity & discretion — I have some others that I cannot trust to cross the ocean, but I will send you copies of portions of them, when I hear that these have reached you in safety — I have a picture of Mr. Poe for which he sat when here, this is as good as could be taken in those days — I will have it copied at once & send it with Mrs. Clemm’s — I do not know what became of the things she left, but she had in her possession letters, etc. — belonging to me, that I would be very glad to obtain were it possible to do so. I regret exceedingly that I could not have seen her during her last illness, but my husband was at that time an invalid, unable to go with me, & I did not like to leave him — Once since her death, I have passed through Baltimore, but was with a party & could not stop — If I knew it would be of any avail, I would go there, & try to get what information I could, but fear I should get very [page 152:] little satisfaction — Please accept my sincere thanks for your kind offer to send the Memoir & the picture — I am exceedingly desirous of seeing both & will write you as soon as they reach me. In one of the letters I enclose, Mr. Poe speaks of “The Bells” as coming out in a Review — but I think they were published in the “Flag of our Union” — I have the manuscript copy of that poem — the one “For Annie” & “A Dream within a dream”, all of which he gave me, or sent me in his letters

Very truly yours, A. L. Richmond

Ingram reproduced in facsimile the manuscript of “A Dream Within a Dream,” the last fifteen lines of Poe’s poem “For Annie” in an article written especially for the Poe centenary number of the London Bookman, January, 1909, page 190. “For Annie” had appeared first in the Flag of Our Union, April 28, 1849, and Poe had sent the manuscript to Mrs. Richmond on March 23, 1849, saying the lines were “much the best I have ever written.”

Poe’s letter in which he spoke of “The Bells” coming out “in a Review” was written to Mrs. Richmond on February 8, 1849. (See Ostrom, II, 425, for complete text.) “The Bells” actually was first published in Sartain’s Union Magazine, November, 1849, after Poe’s death.

Beginning with this letter, Mrs. Richmond started enclosing copies of her letters from Poe and she continued until she had sent Ingram copies of them all. He betrayed her trust by printing them, although he did withhold her name and he made some elisions and modifications within the letters.

Ingram used the photograph of Mrs. Clemm that Mrs. Richmond sent to him, and it was immediately copied and recopied until it has become familiar to us all. Mrs. Clemm had lived with the Richmonds for many months at the time after Poe’s death. While there she talked incessantly of Poe and Virginia, and enjoyed handling, reading, and crying over Poe’s letters to Mrs. Richmond. On one occasion, when she left the Richmonds’ home, some of Poe’s letters were missing, but Mrs. Clemm insisted that she had returned them all to Annie. When Mrs. Clemm died in 1871 in the Episcopal Church Home in Baltimore, her few possessions went to her second cousin, judge Neilson Poe of Baltimore.

Letter 44. Annie Richmond, Lowell, to John Ingram, London. First printing. [Item 301] [page 153:]

Oct. 3d. [18]76

Dear Mr. Ingram,

I mailed you yesterday a valuable package (at least I considered it so) containing letters from Mrs. Clemm & from her gifted son, together with the photographs of them both — hers is very good, but Mr. Poe’s does not do him justiceindeed, I have never seen a picture that did-his face was thin, & in the one I send, he looks very stout, & his features heavy, which makes it seem almost like a caricature — yet, he certainly sat for it, & the artist (if he deserves the title) is still living here, who had the privilege of taking it.

I shall feel not a little anxiety until I hear they are safe in your possession — the pictures you can keep as I have othersthe letters of course you will not care for, after you have made extracts from them.

One question in your last letter I did not answer I think. Mr. Poe did tell me much of his early history at different times, but I can recall nothing that would have any particular interest, except to a personal friend — from his mother I learned much of the family, yet I could not be certain as to dates, names, etc — I have often regretted since, that I did not make notes of our conversations at the time — I was deeply interested in all that concerned him in any way, & she never cared to talk of anything else when she found an attentive listener.

The memoir of which you spoke, has not reached me as yet — I am looking for its arrival with pleasure saddened by the thought, that it comes too late for his dear “Muddie” to enjoy it with me — But I am very very thankful to know, that justice will be done his dear memory at last. When I hear that the letters have arrived, I will send more or copies at the least —

Very truly & gratefully yours,

Annie L. Richmond

The photograph of Poe included in the package mailed on October 2 was taken from a daguerreotype that was later stolen from Mrs. Richmond’s home. [page 154:] Ingram used reproductions from these photographs in his 1880 Life. One can only speculate as to Ingram’s reaction to Annie’s inability to remember anything of Poe’s early history, except that which would be of interest to a “personal friend.”

Letter 45. Annie Richmond, Lowell, to John Ingram, London. First printing. [Item 3041

Nov. 21st 1876

My dear Mr. Ingram,

Please accept my most sincere & grateful thanks for your kind letter of the 16th ult. together with a vol. of Mr. Poe’s works containing your Memoir. They did not reach me until ten days ago, or I should have sooner acknowledged their arrival — There was some delay at the office, then my absence from home prevented my receiving them, as soon as I otherwise should — I am sorry to say I have not yet had time to read the Memoir thoroughly, I have been so occupied with an “orphan’s Fair” for the past ten days — but I am satisfied that it contains a complete refutation of Griswold’s vile calumnies which is a great relief to my mind — Nothing but my intense desire, to have full justice done to the memory of my dear friend, could have tempted me to put my correspondence with him into the hands of any human being — indeed, it seems even now almost a sacrilege, after keeping it inviolate all these long years to allow strange eyes to read it! — but I feel sure you are his friend at least, & for his dear sake, if for no other reason, you will never suffer it to be made public, or in any possible way used to his disadvantage. Since writing you last, I have been looking over my remaining letters intending to copy some of them for you, but they are so personal & contain so few allusions to matters that would interest you, that I hardly think it worth while to do it. If I ever have the opportunity of placing the originals in your hands, I will most certainly do so with pleasure, for I feel that you will understand & appreciate them. The photo I sent you, [page 155:] was copied from a daguerreotype Mr. Poe had taken the last time he visited me & the artist who took it is still living in this city. It is a poor picture, I know, but it was the best I could do at the time — the art was then in its infancy, & this man was the only one here, who took them so I had no other alternative. Mr. Poe promised to send me a better one, as soon as he arrived in New York — but it never came. I think the engraving in the Vol. you sent is perhaps quite as good as any that can be had, but it is not perfect. I am surprised to hear that my copy of “The Bells” is not the original, as he copied the entire poem while at my house, & I supposed left me the first one — however, it does not matter, the fact that it is in the author’s handwriting is sufficient. I shall never cease to regret that I did not see Mrs. Clemm during her last illness, but it was almost an impossibility for me to go to Baltimore at that time — yet, if it were to do again, I should go, at the risk of my life. One very valuable letter was in her possession that belonged to me — she borrowed it, but for what purpose I never knew, nor do I know what became of it — many other things she promised me, which of course now I shall never get, but they would be invaluable. Please pardon this hastily written & unsatisfactory note — after I have read the Memoir I will write again. I am very weary with my last week’s hard work.

Very truly yours, Annie L. Richmond

Fortunately, Mrs. Richmond had had copies made of the daguerreotype taken of Poe on his last visit to Lowell, but she had cherished the original of it for many years and the theft of it from her home was greatly distressing.

It is easy to understand from her letters that Mrs. Richmond was indeed healthily active in civic, charitable, and church organizations in Lowell.

Her manuscript copy of “The Bells” was really the third draft of the poem. In the summer of 1848, Poe had written seventeen lines of the poem in Mrs. Shew’s home, according to her story above, and with her help. He expanded this first version in his second draft, written about February 6, 1849; and he wrote the third and final draft at Mrs. Richmond’s home in May, 1849. He even revised this last version, and the poem had 112 lines when it was published in Sartain’s Union Magazine, in November, 1849. [page 156:]

Letter 46. Sarah H. Heywood, Lowell, to John Ingram, London. First printing. [Item 306]

Dec. 24, 1876

Mr. J. H. Ingram, Dear Sir,

At the request of my sister, Mrs. Richmond, whose Christmas duties are numerous and imperative, I write the few words which will introduce to you Mr. Franklin Brown of London, a friend of the family, who leaves us today for his home.

He will hand you a package containing an early edition of Mr. Poe’s works. It was found in the trunk which was forwarded to Mrs. Clemm from Baltimore, soon after his death.(3)

Mrs. Richmond will write very soon in reply to yours of the 5th inst. but she wishes me just to say that she will have the “Annie” Ms. photographed for you at an early day. She thinks you must have recd her somewhat tardy acknowledgement of the Memoir very soon after you wrote.

With great respect, Yours very truly, Sarah H. Heywood

Franklin E. Brown delivered by hand to Ingram in London the two-volume edition of Poe’s Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque (Philadelphia: Lea & Blanchard, 1840) that had been found in Poe’s trunk when it reached Lowell, sent by Neilson Poe to Mrs. Clemm. Both Rosalie and Mrs. Clemm had engaged lawyers, free of charge, of course, to fight each other for Edgar’s effects and estate; apparently Sylvanus D. Lewis* presented a stronger claim for Mrs. Clemm than John Reuben Thompson did for Rosalie. [page 157:]

Letter 47. Annie Richmond, Lowell, to John Ingram, London. Written on the back of a printed broadside, the prospectus for Poe’s “Stylus,” dated New York City, April, 1848. First printing. [Item 308]

Jan. 1,1877

Before this reaches you, I hope you will have had a call from Mr. Brown,” & have received the volumes I sent you by him. He will tell you something of my cares just now — I have three law-suits on hand, (which involves time & money more or less,) besides, being connected with some charitable institutions here, that occupy & interest me more deeply than ever, at the present time — I am so thankful for the bit of Romance that found its way into the “web & woof” of my life in the days of “auld lang syne,” for it is so intensely practical now-a-days, that I fear I should hardly be grateful for the present, were it not for the sweet sweet memories that brighten all the shadows, & make me feel that come what may, I have had more than an average share of blessings, & therewith I will be content. Pardon these scribblings & believe me ever

Yours truly, A.L.R.

Charles B. Richmond had been an energetic and successful businessman in Lowell; after his death, Mrs. Richmond was frequently much distressed by affairs involving lawsuits plus the financial complications arising from a severe recession.

The “Romance” to which she refers was, of course, her meeting and associating with Edgar Poe, his declared love for her, and the letters and poems she had as proof.

Letter 48. Annie Richmond, Lowell, to John Ingram, London. Notes appended to a copy of Poe’s letter to Sarah Helen Whitman, Providence, Rhode Island, dated January 21 (?) 25 (?),1849. First printing. [Item 310] [page 158:]

Jany.14th [18]77

My dear friend,

Yours of the 28th ult. together with the manuscript & Photo. reached me last evening. — I cannot reply to your letter in full for several days, but am anxious you should know it has arrived in safety — I enclose with this, a copy of another letter, to me, which I prepared to send you some time since, then decided not to do so. But your assurance that no harm shall come of it to anyone, re-assures me that I may trust you with everything! — The photograph copy of the Poem “For Annie” is perfect, except that where the original has turned yellow with age, the copy gives it black, making a very uninviting looking manuscript! I conclude however that you can remedy this — “Mr. Poe as a Cryptographer” was written by Rev. W. H. Cudworth* of East Boston who was then living in Lowell — I have written him for letters etc. but he has nothing left he says — I will write you at length in a few days —

Yours truly, A.L.R.

I send you this copy of a letter written by Mr. Poe to Mrs. Whitman, my dear Mr. Ingram, in order to explain his letter to me, written about the same time, which would otherwise appear somewhat ambiguous, I fear — I also enclose a note from Charles Dicken’s [sic] agent, (which accompanied a check for the amount named), which Mrs. Clemm received & acknowledged at the time.

[Mrs. Richmond copied here for Ingram her letter from Poe of January 21 (?), 1849, in which he had enclosed a letter addressed to Sarah Helen Whitman dated about the same time. She was instructed to read it, seal it with wax, and mail it from Boston. Poe’s engagement to Mrs. Whitman had been broken in late December, 1848, and rumors were rife about his conduct in the matter. Quite disturbed about it all, Mrs. Richmond wrote to Poe, and he then quoted the following from her letter in his letter to Mrs. Whitman: “I will not repeat all her vile and slanderous words — you have doubtless heard them — but one thing she says that I cannot deny though I do not believe it — viz — that you had been published to her once, and that on the Sat. preceding the Sabbath on which you were to have been published for the second time she went herself to the Rev. [page 159:] Mr. Crocker’s and after stating her reasons for so doing, requested him to stop all further proceedings.” By sending his letter through Annie, Poe hoped to preserve his good standing with her by showing her that he is asking Mrs. Whitman for a denial of the accusation that is referred to in this quoted passage. See Ostrom, II, 417-22, for as complete texts as exist of both these letters.]

The quotation in this letter of course was written by me — not on my own account but to satisfy my friends — Mr. Richmond’s family were at that time living in Providence & were continually sending him the gossip in circulation there, about this unhappy affair — In answer to their inquiries as to what “Mr. Poe said about it,” I replied, that Mrs. W’s statement was a false one, but nothing would do — they must have something more definite — of course I had no other alternative, but to tell him as briefly as I could, my reasons for troubling him, & ask some explanation — Mrs. W’s reply exonerated him completely, yet I think they were inclined to discredit it & believe him still a very unprincipled man to say the least — A.L.R.

The “photograph copy” of the poem “For Annie” (the last 15 lines of “A Dream Within a Dream”) had been made in Lowell for forwarding to Ingram.

The Rev. Warren H. Cudworth published his article, “Mr. Poe as a Cryptographer,” in the Lowell Journal, April 19, 1850.

Occasionally Ingram sent proofs of his forthcoming articles on Poe to his correspondents and asked for their criticisms; this was merely an unsubtle way of flattering them, for he rarely paid any attention to their replies.

Letter 49. Annie Richmond, Lowell, to John Ingram, London. First printing. [Item 312]

Jany. 31st [18]77

My dear kind friend,

Your favor of the 13th Inst. together with the enclosure has just reached me, & I hasten to assure you of the safety of the manuscript, although not yet fully prepared to answer your last letters — For more than two weeks, I have been confined to the house with a severe cold or I should have [page 160:] replied ere this to the questions in your letter of December 28th. I am quite certain that through a friend in Boston, I can obtain access to an old file of the “Flag of our Union”, also may find the number of “Graham’s” you desire — I will send you with this, all the letters I have from Mrs. Clemm, written previously to Mr. Poe’s death — in one of them she speaks of Mr. Clark[e],* which is all I distinctly remember concerning him — of Mr. Graham* I know nothing — perhaps your friend Mr. Davidson* in N. York might be able to give some information on that point, as there must be those living there, who know of him — Mrs. Clemm mentions in one of her letters, sending “autographs” to Mr. Longfellow, which may or may not mean entire letters — two or three at least of mine are missing, & have been for many years — While Mrs. C. was with me she had access to all my letters, & was in the habit of looking them over (it was a privilege I could not deny her,) & after she went back to N. York, I missed some of them & asked her if they had not accidentally been carried away among her own — but she insisted upon it they had not been — & their disappearance has always been a mystery. She afterward borrowed one, which never came back, though she said she had mailed it to me — of Mr. Poe’s early life, she used to talk, but I have no distinct remembrance of those conversations, except that I can readily substantiate what you have said. You have several times mentioned Mr. Gill* — I have seen him, but know very little of him except through the papers — I was introduced to him by a lady (well known among literary people here) who wished me to give him some facts about Mr. Poe, that he could incorporate into a lecture he was preparing, called “an evening with Poe & his critics” — of course I was interested to have some of the mistakes of the past corrected, & accordingly I gave him what information I thought necessary to make his lecture correct & attractive — the only personal matter he obtained was my sister’s manuscript which he very soon returned — At the time he went to Baltimore to attend the Memorial services, he borrowed my manuscript of “The Bells,” which he said he wished to have that he might read the poem with more effect! Since then I have heard (though not from him) that he was preparing a [page 161:] Memoir that would come out this spring — he very likely has a photographic copy of my manuscript, taken while it was in his possession, but I certainly have the one written by Mr. Poe, which he gave me before it had appeared in print — Although I have so long & so ardently desired to see his name & honor vindicated, yet it was only by the urgent solicitations of the lady who introduced him to me, that I was induced to give aid to Mr. Gill, for I wished Mr. Poe’s defense to come from his peers! How those who knew him could allow that wicked biography of Griswold’s to go unchallenged has ever been & will ever be to me a profound & unfathomable mystery! I confess I was thankful to know there was anybody who could see his virtues & forget his faults — I think by this time you must understand something of what I have suffered, in all these long years, & can appreciate my gratitude, whenever I see written or hear uttered a single kindly word — I need hardly tell you, with what intense interest I look forward to your forthcoming Memoir, which I feel sure, will indeed be a “complete & thorough vindication,” of that dear & tenderly cherished name, & I trust the confidence I have reposed in you gives assurance of my sincerity in making this statement — words can never express the gratitude I feel for what you have already done — I can hardly understand how anything can be more comprehensive or satisfactory — Many thanks for your kind offer to send me the remaining volumes — I shall be very glad to have the complete set of his works in this beautiful edition — As soon as I am able, shall go to Boston, & will do all in my power to procure for you the vol. dates, etc. of which you speak — the letters I enclose, you need not return — I regret now that I did not keep all her letters, for they would have been of use to you I am sure. In haste (for today’s mail) & with grateful thanks,

Yours very truly, A. L. Richmond

Ingram was suspicious of Mrs. Clemm’s veracity, but he had to remember that she was after all the person who had been closest to Poe; he therefore generally quoted only portions of her letters directly or indirectly into whatever article of [page 162:] book about Poe he was working on when he received her letters or copies of them.

“Mr. Clark,” mentioned by Mrs. Clemm, was Thomas Cottrell Clarke, owner and editor of the Philadelphia Saturday Museum, who had agreed in 1842 to furnish the money needed to start publishing Poe’s long-dreamed-of magazine, The Stylus.

William Fearing Gill was certainly eager to redeem Poe’s reputation from Griswold’s slanders, but he was hampered by a diversity of interests and an impulsiveness that amounted to flightiness. He did, at his own request, recite some of Poe’s poetry at the unveiling of the monument to Poe in Baltimore in November, 1875.

Letter 50. Annie Richmond, Lowell, to John Ingram, London. First printing. [Item 314]

Feb. 5th, 1877

My dear Mr. Ingram,

A friend has just sent to me a bound vol. of “Graham” for /41 & 42, which has in it two chapters on “Autography”, & an article on “secret writing” by Mr. Poe — would you like them? The Book belonged to a dear sister, & she does not like to part with it, but says I may cut out anything I wish & as neither of these articles are in his works, (or in the editions I have seen), I thought you might perhaps make some use of them — there is also, “A few words about Brainerd”, that I do not remember having seen, besides a number of his stories, that are in his works — As yet, I have been unable to obtain the Nos. you mentioned, but think I shall find them in Boston. I take the liberty of sending this note to Mr. Brown,* as I have a letter ready to mail, thinking it may reach you in season for you to reply in your next — These chapters on “Autography” (having a fac-simile of each writer’s hand who is mentioned) seem to me very interesting, & I am surprised that they have never been included, by any compiler of Mr. Poe’s works — I wish it were possible for me to give you all the information you desire concerning him, but my memory of his conversations concerning his own history, is not sufficiently clear & comprehensive, [page 164:] to enable me to send you anything valuable — I often wish I had kept a diary, at that time, & had I realized then as I do now the privileges I enjoyed, I certainly should have done so — wonder & admiration so completely absorbed every other feeling, that I did not even comprehend the rare opportunity, with which I was blessed, or I should have better improved it — He seemed so unlike any other person, I had ever known, that I could not think of him in the same way — he was incomparable — not to be measured by any ordinary standard — & all the events of his life, which he narrated to me, had a flavor of unreality about them, just like his stories — who could repeat one of those! to do it justice I mean — but I did not intend writing you a letter — only to ask a question! —

Yours very truly, A. L. Richmond

Mrs. Richmond’s warmly reported impressions of Poe as a man are both sincerely human and unique.

Poe’s “A Chapter on Autography” appeared in Graham’s for November and December, 1841. “A Few Words on Secret Writing” appeared in the same magazine, in four installments: July, August, October, and December, 1841. “A Few Words About Brainerd [[Brainard]]” was in Graham’s for January, 1842.

Letter 51. Annie Richmond, Lowell, to John Ingram, London. First printing. [Item 318]

March 13, 1877

My dear Mr. Ingram,

Your kind favor the the 24th ult. has just reached me — I am glad you do not stand upon ceremony, but write whenever you find it convenient & agreeable to do so. Your letters afford me much pleasure always, for there is no other person to whom I write, & rarely one to whom I speak, upon the theme which is the burden of our correspondence — they are therefore, the connecting link with the past — the only one which re-assures me that, “all we see or seem” is not “a dream within a dream.” The realities of life are at present so [page 164:] absorbing, so very real, that I sometimes wonder if I have ever known anything else, save what has come to me in dreams. I was sure the romance had all gone out of it, until a little sonnet came to me, as a New Year’s greeting, which bore the sweet fragrance of “days that are no more.” Then I felt thankful for the power we all possess to keep the heart perpetually & immortally young! But a truce to sentiment — it is well for you, my friend, (may I not call you so?) that I have so little leisure, or I should surely weary you by the frequency as well as the length of my epistles — Now I will try to answer a portion at least of your long neglected questions — I find that all the files of “The Flag of our Union,” in which so many of Mr. Poe’s articles were published, were destroyed in the late fire (/72 or 3 I forget which). Mr. Gleason, a former proprietor of the paper, told me he would willingly pay a fabulous sum to obtain even a portion of them — He spoke of Mr. Poe’s contributions, & of having had some of his manuscript, which was also destroyed at the same time — It is barely possible, some person may have a copy on file, but scarcely probable — I have interested several friends in Boston, who will get them if they are to be found — As regard the Mag’s I can only say now that I have heard where there is a collection of both the “Graham’s” & “Gentleman’s” & I am going down to look them over, some day this week — Should I find the Nos. you mention, will procure them & forward in the manner you suggest (“without the covers”) unless it will answer your purpose to have merely Mr. Poe’s articles detached & sent by themselves — I will wait until I hear from you again before sending any of them — I can as yet, get no trace of “Tamerlane etc.” — “El Dorado” I am quite certain came out in “The Flag” — but the date I cannot tell, of any of them — “For Annie” even I am sorry to say — I sincerely regret that I did not keep the papers, as they came out — I had them all & might have done so —

I have often regretted also that I did not keep a diary at the time I knew Mr. Poe, & jot down conversations had with him on different subjects — it would be invaluable now — I remember well his speaking of his early life, but I can recall nothing distinctly, that differs materially from what has been [page 165:] published in the biographies — nor do I remember what he said concerning his school-days particularly, or of his foster parents, though he often mentioned being in England incidentally — I think he never mentioned the name of his own parents to me — Mr. Cudworth* had some conversation with him, about his visit to England I think, but seems not to have any distinct recollections, on the subject, more than myself — He has no letters written by Mr. Poe, & those of Mrs.Clemm I think contain nothing of value — I have made several efforts to find something of his, among the few autograph collectors that I know, but as yet have seen no one who has more than his simple signature — these were given by either Mrs. Clemm or myself — Of his life in Phila. I know nothing at all — indeed was not aware of his ever having passed any considerable portion of it in that city — did he meet “Almira Shelton” there? I never knew much about his acquaintance with her although I might have done so — but it did not interest me — I know Mrs. Clemm liked her very much & at one time was anxious Mr. Poe should marry her — Concerning the affair with Mrs. Whitman, there seems [sic] to be conflicting accounts — of course I had faith in his version of it, but it was the cause of more unhappiness to me than anything that ever occurred during the whole course of our acquaintance, — My husband was from Prov.[idence] & his father’s family were living there at that time, & of course heard a great deal of the gossip connected with their names, & naturally enough sympathized with Mrs. Whitman — Their letters used to annoy Mr. Richmond exceedingly, for while he had the most implicit confidence in Mr. Poe, these constant allusions to his having acted dishonorably toward Mrs. W. had their effect, & really came very near putting an end to our correspondence — (I refer to the correspondence between Mr. Poe & myself) It caused him to write the only letter that really pained me & made me feel for the time, that our acquaintance must end — I think I will copy that letter for you, because it will show you how honorably he acted — indeed I do not think he was capable of a mean or dishonorable act toward any human being, & all imputations to the contrary, I firmly believe to be cruel & unjust in the extreme — he had the very personification of [page 166:] high-mindedness & true nobility as I understand those terms — The lines “For Annie” have never been out of my possession for a moment until I took them to the Photographers for you, & the plate is to be destroyed by my request — Mr. Gill,* (as I told you in a former letter) had “The Bells” for some time & I presume had a copy taken for himself.(4) I am quite certain he has no other & never has had except the one I lent him. I am sorry now, that he ever crossed my path — but my slight acquaintance with him was not of my own seeking, & I could not well have avoided doing as I did, under the circumstances. I hear his book is not coming out until autumn. I sincerely wish it may never come, but suppose I have no power to prevent it. Whether he has made use of the sketch loaned him by my sister, I cannot tell — she will write & request him not to publish it. On looking over your letter, I find several questions unanswered. I have heard Mr. Poe speak of Mrs. Stanard* — also of Mrs. Osgood* often, but do not imagine I could tell you anything about either of them that you do not know. Has “Mrs. Jane Ermina Locke” come under your notice? She was deeply in love with Mr. Poe, & went to Fordham to see him & afterward made arrangements for his lecture here. She it was who introduced him to me. I tell you this that you may understand his allusions to her, in the letter I am going to copy for you — he sent me a large package of her letters, but since her death I have destroyed them. I have just one memento of her, which I will enclose — please do not return it. Before closing this letter, I beg to thank you for all favors, & particularly for the promised set of your edition of Mr. Poe’s works — hoping you will pardon my verbosity, I am dear sir,

Yours very truly, A. L. Richmond

Have I ever told you that a manuscript copy of “A dream within a dream” is in the possession of a Mrs. Crane in East Boston? Mr. Poe sent it to me before it appeared in print, & many years ago, through the intercession of her pastor, the [page 167:] Rev. W. H. Cudworth (who is still in E.B.) I was induced to let her have it — I think you might by application to him, get a photograph of it, but I suppose it would be impossible to obtain the original although she promised if I outlived her, it should be returned to me — Autograph collectors have begged from me, everything I could detach from his letters, after the signatures were all gone.

The “one memento” of Mrs. Locke enclosed in this letter to Ingram was the manuscript of her poem, “Ermina’s Gale [[Tale]],” which is now in the Ingram Poe Collection, a four-page manuscript containing thirty-one four-line stanzas, with an appended note, presumably to Poe, asking that receipt of the manuscript be acknowledged.(5) If Mrs. Locke did go to Fordham to see Poe before inviting him to lecture in Lowell, he could not have been surprised to find her middle-aged and consumptive, the mother of four children and married to a man who was by no means wealthy — as Frederick W. Coburn* states in his article, “Poe As Seen By the Brother of Annie.”

Frederick Gleason and Martin Murray Ballou established The Flag of Our Union as a weekly family paper in January, 1846, and it flourished until January, 1871, when it then merged with the American Union. All files of The Flag were thought to be lost, but Professor Killis Campbell discovered a complete set in the Library of Congress in 1909. “El Dorado” was published in The Flag on April 21, 1849; “For Annie” on April 28, 1849.

Stories of Poe’s having behaved dishonorably in breaking his engagement to Mrs. Whitman were widely circulated, serving well many persons who enjoyed disparaging Poe.

A fire in the publishing house of which Gill’s family were part owners delayed the publication of his Life of Poe until November, 1877.

The “little sonnet” that came to Mrs. Richmond as a New Year’s greeting, returning romance to her life, was written by B. W. Ball of Boston. Sarah Heywood enclosed a copy of it, cut from an unidentified newspaper, in her letter of July 6, 1877, to John Ingram.

Mrs. Clemm, Mrs. Whitman, and Mrs. Richmond mutilated many of Poe’s letters by cutting his signature from them, to please autograph hunters.

Letter 52. Annie Richmond, Lowell, to John Ingram, London. First printing. [Item 56] [page 168:]

[post March 13, 1877]

Dear Mr. Ingram —

In justice to my dear husband, I feel in duty bound to tell you, that he never suspected Mr. Poe of anything dishonorable, though the Locke’s [sic] did their best to poison him in every way, & make him believe their atrocious falsehoods — On receipt of this letter, he wrote them (the Lockes) denouncing them in the strongest terms, & the acquaintance ended then & there — He also requested me to urge Mrs. Clemm and Mr. Poe to come on, & said she was welcome to stay as long as she wished — If I ever see you I shall have many many things to tell you & to explain —

Yours always A.L.R.

This short letter accompanied Mrs. Richmond’s transcript of Poe’s letter to herself, dated February 19, 1849, in which he offers to break their relationship and correspondence, since Mr. Richmond has either been influenced against him by the accusations of Mr. and Mrs. Locke or suspects Poe’s motives in his addresses to his wife. In his letter Poe explains and refutes the charges and says he will not now plan to visit the Richmonds or board Mrs. Clemm with them while he is away on a business trip to Virginia. (See Ostrom, II, 429-32, for a complete text of the letter.)

Letter 53. Annie Richmond, Lowell, to John Ingram, London. First printing. [Item 321]

May 27th [18]77

My dear friend

Ought I not to add neglected! I fear you must have felt so often, within the past two months, but I assure you it has not been wilfull neglect on my part — nor have I forgotten you, & the glorious work in which you are engaged, though my mind has been so distracted by cares & trials — sickness in my family, & business perplexities, of the most annoying kind, are what I have to offer in extenuation of my offence — Am I [page 169:] not forgiven? One little thing that has annoyed me I might as well mention here — It seems that Mr. Gill has in some (to me) mysterious way found out that I am in correspondence with you, & he has taken me to task for having furnished you aid in your Memoir of Mr. Poe, by sending you my sister’s sketch of him! (I wonder if he thinks that is all I have sent you!) I suppose I am not doing quite right, as he particularly wished me to ask you not to use it (as he had already done so,) but without saying he had desired it! However I am under no obligation to obey his behest, & I shall therefore leave it with you to do as you see fit — he says if I have not seen it, “It is in print,” & I shall see it very soon! I wrote him in reply, that until the defenders of the lamented poet outnumbered his detractors, I should feel at perfect liberty to aid anyone I chose, who would undertake to vindicate his name! Of course, it is not at all likely I shall ever be called upon, or if I am, that I shall be interested sufficiently to furnish any material — (indeed I have nothing left, that could be used now) but I was so determined to silence him once for all! How he could have got the information, seems the strangest thing, as no one knows here anything about my acquaintance with you, excepting my sister, & neither of us are acquainted with any of his friends. I will enclose you a P.S. from his last letter, in which he replied to my question of how he heard the fact he stated — I rather doubt his having heard it at all — am inclined to think he surmised it, & took that method of finding out if it were true. Enough of him. I enclose a copy of a letter I gave to a friend long ago, which I know is correct in every particular. I regret that the date is not given — the year I mean — perhaps you can find out, taken in connection with other letters in your possession. I urged him to send you the original, that you might copy it, but he did not like to trust it out of his sight. I am sure it is a perfect copy, for he is most reliable, & he assured me that every erasure & indeed everything was precisely like the original — he called to see Mr. Davidson* (at my request) to show him both the original & the copy, but did not find him. I have one letter more that I intend to copy for you very soon. It had allusions to Mrs. Locke,* which you will now understand, but until you knew something of her, I did [page 170:] not think it worth while to send it. I also enclose a poem, which I do not understand. Mrs. Clemm always said, that Virginia was the one for whom that poem was written, & it seemed to annoy her exceedingly, that everyone did not so understand it. I think myself, that it has very little significance, if it was intended for anyone else, but his bride. I have searched Boston in vain for the Mag. nos. you wish. I can find only a few — but a friend in New York is hoping to find more, which I will forward (if she is successful) with those I have. Many thanks for you kind offer of the remaining volumes of your edition of Poe, & I wish I knew some one who would take charge of them — but just now, I have no friends abroad, who are coming home, at least for some months. I hardly think we shall see Mr. Brown again, though he was very sure when he left us, that he should return in the spring! He may be able to assist you in forwarding a package to this country, as he is often sending to his uncle in Boston. But do not give yourself too much trouble — they will be very acceptable whenever you can conveniently get them to me. In the meantime, I am wondering how I can send you the magazines! They must be sent at different times — not all at once I suppose. I am not acquainted with anyone in Camden, but may find out what you wish through my friends in New York. I never heard either Mr. Poe or Mrs. Clemm speak of his having translated any tales from the French. I wish it were possible for you to see Mrs. Allan* — it seems to me her account would be of immense interest & value, if it could be obtained, for it would be in connection with a period in the poet’s life that no one fully understands. His mother always spoke in the strongest terms of denunciation, of the treatment he received from that family — but I have felt that she either did not know, or would not reveal, the real truth about the matter. I cannot believe the Allans would have been guilty of the injustice she has charged them with — but nothing would satisfy me, except a statement from Mrs. Allan’s own lips. I would see her if I could, gladly. Mrs. Whitman I have never cared to see, though I presume my prejudices are — many of them unfounded, but everything connected with her, has left a most painful impression upon me. Mrs. Shelton I would like so much to [page 171:] meet — also Mrs. Houghton — Mrs. Lewis is another person from whom I shrink, without being able to give any reason for it. I think we are often attracted & repelled intuitively, without having any reason for our likes or dislikes of people. Don’t you think so? Hoping you will excuse this hurriedly written though long letter (for I never stop till I get to the end of my paper), I am, dear sir, your friend most truly, (though intuitively),


The poem enclosed in this letter was probably “Annabel Lee,” although why Mrs. Richmond could not understand it is not clear. Mrs. Clemm frequently insisted that Poe had written the poem only for his wife Virginia, but she also told Stella Lewis that Poe had really written it for her.

Mrs. Richmond’s shrewd observations about Mrs. Clemm’s denunciation of the Allan family show her acute perception of Mrs. Clemm’s real nature. This letter, perhaps more than any other, shows the warmth and charm of Annie Richmond’s personality, as well as her strong desire to have Poe’s name vindicated. Her distaste for Gill and her willingness to convey to Ingram Gill’s attitudes and plans for writing on Poe are very similar to the attitudes quickly adopted by almost all of Ingram’s American correspondents when they were approached by American writers who wanted to do the same job that Ingram was doing. Their almost fierce loyalty to Ingram is not easily explained.

Gill had learned of Mrs. Richmond’s correspondence with Ingram almost certainly through Mrs. Whitman, for Ingram was writing and receiving letters from her with great regularity during this period, and he habitually gave her full accounts of his correspondents, his triumphs as well as his failures, in acquiring new materials about Poe.

Ingram had indeed tried to reach Mrs. Louisa G. Allan in Richmond, but without success. He had sent a letter to her through his loyal helper, E. V. Valentine of Richmond, but Valentine himself declined to offer it to her, even though he was on friendly visiting terms, since the subject of Edgar Poe was, as he bluntly wrote Ingram, “disagreeable to her.” He did, however, give the letter to someone else to hand to her. She did not reply.

The friend to whom Mrs. Richmond had given the letter Poe wrote “long ago,” to William E. Burton, June l, 1840, and who made a “perfect copy” for Ingram, was William Rouse.

Letter 54. Sarah H. Heywood, Lowell, to John Ingram, London. First printing. [Item 322] [page 172:]

July 6, 1877

Mr. Ingram,

Dear Sir,

Again Mrs. Richmond asks me to be her amanuensis, and acknowledge the receipt of yours dated 6/11 also of the 2nd vol. of Mr. Poe’s Works. She will write you fully, as soon as this unusual business complication is adjusted. With her permission I add a few words respecting the “Sketch”. You are certainly at liberty to use it in any way you like, and I heartily wish it had gone into no hands but yours. I understood that Mr. Gill was writing a lecture, & that he merely wished to read some little thing — anything that would help him form a mental picture — that he might write with more interest. I expected him to return the MS. As he did not do it, I sent for it. I have not sufficient confidence in Mr. Gill’s scholarly ability or literary taste, to wish to aid him, even in a very small way, in a work of this kind.

I have often asked Annie to enclose to you a Sonnet “To A.L.R.” written by B. W. Ball of Boston, several months ago. As I think she has not done so, I shall put it in with this.

I am, dear sir

Very truly yours —

Sarah H. Heywood

The sonnet enclosed in this letter, written by B. W. Ball of Boston as a New Year’s present to Mrs. Richmond for 1877, when she was in her fifty-seventh year, is as follows:

To A. L. R.

A poet thee in other years did love,

Thy face was starlight to his fervid dreams;

And, of thy morning charms, still sunset gleams

Attest how potent was the spell they wove

Around thy glorious minstrel’s lonely heart.

Thee in deathless verse did enshrine,

Thy name embalmed in many a burning line,

And of his wide renown gave thee a part.

Broken long since his heart and fitful lyre

By adverse fate; his threne long since was sung.

But more and more in every clime and tongue, [page 173:]

His fame is spread, which owns the poet’s fire,

While still thou charm’st, e’en tho’ no longer young,

As when thy minstrel’s soul thou didst inspire.(6)

Letter 55. Annie Richmond, Lowell, to John Ingram, London. First printing. [Item 324]

Oct. 8th 1877

My dear friend Mr. Ingram —

I am not going to trouble you with a detailed account of all that has transpired to prevent my writing you for the past three months, though I am sure you would not wonder at my prolonged silence — suffice it to say your last, dated May 28th found me suffering from a severe attack of bronchitis, which still confines me to the house, though I am now able to leave my room — My business cares seemed almost insupportable, while in health, & as you will readily understand, are doubly wearing in a state of physical prostration — I am therefore, hardly in a condition to write an interesting letter, even upon the subject that is nearest & dearest to my heart — How I wish it were possible, for you to come here before your Memoir is published — I do so want to read & talk over Gill’s book with you — It has provoked some adverse comments, yet on the whole, has been better received than it deserved to be — I know of one notice that was written for a consideration, & very likely others have been — there is a way of getting favorable notices, of the most unworthy book ever published, I find, & I think Mr. G. most unscrupulous. His audacity in using my sister’s manuscript, after she had told him, she wished to prepare it for a Mag. article, shows him in his true light. I regret most sincerely that he ever crossed my path. I had hoarded my precious secret for years, & how it ever came to be revealed to him, passes my comprehension. Had I not been waiting so long, to hear that name vindicated, I should not have allowed him (Gill) even the few items of information he did extort, under pretense of preparing a lecture! But it [page 174:] was such a relief, to feel that one voice was to be raised in denunciation of Griswold & his wicked Memoir, that for a time I thought only how I might aid him, without betraying, what even then I felt was too sacred to be revealed, although certain that I held the key to many things that appeared inexplicable. I really wonder now sometimes, that he was not more successful — but I never liked the man — His personality was especially disagreeable — he repelled me constantly, & I felt, that even for the sake of having that dear name vindicated, I could not disclose my long treasured secret! How differently did I send forth the response to your first overture — it seemed to me, you ought to know — indeed that you must know, & that I must put those letters in your possession — for the first time, I fully realized the mistake I had made in allowing myself to yield, against my judgment, to the importunities of a — (shall I write it) mountebank! This must be “subrosa” for Mr. G. is a man who might make my acquaintance with Mr. Poe serve him with a weapon for revenge, if he were aware of my dislike — at all events, I would not trust him, & I therefore have just as little as possible to do with him in any way. I think it was a bitter disappointment to him, that I did not speak with enthusiasm of his Memoir. I could not say what I did not feel & I would not say, or thought it best not to say, what I did feel, consequently I merely thanked him for his attempts to vindicate the poet & said I hoped it would be well received. I had not read the book when I wrote this & told him so. Since reading it, I have neither seen him or written to him, & I hope & pray that our slight acquaintance may end here. Have you seen it — if not, I will send you a copy at once — by the way, I will go to Boston soon as I am able, & gather whatever numbers have been found, of the old Mags. you desired, & forward them to you by mail. I fear you will be disappointed for there are comparatively few of the dates I copied, that are to be found even in the oldest book-stores. I am told that very many such books & magazines were destroyed in the great fire, & I have no doubt it is true. “The Flag of our Union” * was entirely lost, & I have been unable to find a person who has a copy on file, though I have asked at least a dozen different people who were supposed to have them. [page 175:] It was a miserable paper, & Mr. Poe used to say he was ashamed to write for it, but that they paid well. You speak of the “Burton letter,” & ask if there are any more. Mr. Rouse has nothing, except that letter, which I gave him many years ago, as a souvenir — could I have known you, previous to Mrs. Clemm’s death, I could have done you a real service, for she would have given me all her letters & papers — indeed, she promised to leave them to me, & I have no doubt she thought arrangements had been made that would secure them to me — at the time of her death, my husband’s health was much impaired & I could not leave home, even for a day, or I should have gone to Baltimore at once, & preferred my claims. I wrote to several persons, but got no satisfaction. Many thanks for the three Vols. (1-2 & 4) which have reached me safely, & in perfectly good condition. Is the Memoir to be connected with, or contained in the 3’d volume? I am more happy than you can understand, to feel that I have been able to aid you even a little, in your labors, & as I have said before, my only regret is that you could not have had all. But we all have to learn lessons from experience sometimes, very bitter those lessons prove. I sent a copy of “Eldorado,” which I hope has reached you ere this — do not forget to tell me if you have Gill’s book. I am very impatient to know how it impresses you. I mean the style — if it is not bungling & awkward, then I am no judge — my sister Miss Heywood sends kind regards. Excuse this stupid letter — I hope to feel better soon both in body & mind — there is a stray gleam of light to be seen in the business horizon I am told, & I think it may brighten for us all. I enclose the letter about “The Bells,” which I think I mentioned to you.

Yours always very truly A.L.R.

Mrs. Richmond’s enclosed “letter about ‘The Bells’” was a copy of Poe’s letter to her, February 8, 1849. (See Ostrom, II, 425-26, for complete text.)

Mrs. Richmond knew that Ingram was writing a new “memoir” of Poe, but she apparently did not understand that it was to be a full-scale biography, until the two volumes came out in 1880 and Ingram sent a set of them to her.

Ingram steadily regarded his work on Poe’s true biography as a holy crusade [page 176:] in the cause of belated justice, and himself as the one person capable and equipped to storm and win that citadel; consequently, he took an extremely dim view of anyone else’s efforts in that direction. He could be quite sharp with even his most active American helpers who had even a kind word to say about anyone’s writing about Poe except his own. In this letter, Mrs. Richmond is obviously trying to ward off his displeasure over her having helped Gill. She, too, really believed that Ingram was the only person who could redeem Poe’s besmirched personal reputation, as did Mrs. Whitman, Mrs. Houghton, and much later, Amelia Poe,’ Neilson Poe’s daughter.

Gill’s Life of Poe, badly marred as it is with sentimentality and inept writing, has real historical importance, for he was close to the scenes of Poe’s life and he met many persons who had known Poe and got from them a number of important Poe “firsts.” He was extremely jealous and envious of Ingram’s hold on some of Poe’s friends and he resented Ingram’s published statement that “no trustworthy biography of Poe has yet appeared in his own country,” which he made in 1874. In his own preface, in 1877, Gill considered Ingram’s snide remark refuted.

We know that Ingram had indeed seen a copy of Gill’s recently published biography of Poe, for two days before Mrs. Richmond wrote this letter, Ingram’s unsigned review of the book had been printed in the Athenaeum. In this slashing, contemptuous denunciation of Gill as a biographer and a person, wherein Ingram derisively attacked Gill’s literary style and his ignorance of this subject, he even accused Gill of covert malignancy toward Poe, as well as stealing biographical materials from him, Ingram. Thus began the battle of Poe’s biographers.

Letter 56. Annie Richmond, Lowell, to John Ingram, London. First printing. [Item 325]

Nov. 25th 1877

My dear friend,

I am so incensed at the audacity (not to use a harsher expression) of Mr. Gill, that I can think of nothing else at present — In the first place, I never have heard of the Monthly you mention, & know not where to obtain a copy, but shall endeavor to get it, & see what it contains, then ask Mr. Gill where he found the extract! I have never seen him, except to pass him in the street, since that time he came to me some six or eight years ago, when he was preparing the lecture — I then [page 177:] read him some extracts from my letters, as I told you, but he never has seen them, except in my hands, for I never allowed him to take them, even in my presence! Of course, whatever he has, that he did not put in his memoir, must have been surreptitiously obtained, or he would have made use of it — How it is possible for him to have in his possession, anything from those letters, is something beyond my comprehension! They have never been loaned to any human being but yourself, & have never been read to anyone — I have occasionally in years past, read some few extracts to persons who admired Mr. Poe’s genius, but deplored his weak & wicked nature, in order to prove to them the injustice that had been done him — At this moment I recall an instance, where I read some portions of them, to a would-be literary young lady, who expressed the most enthusiastic admiration of the Poet, but who firmly believed the man to have been unworthy the friendship of an honorable woman! Of course, I could not allow such accusations to pass without defending him — As this young lady has recently married a friend of Mr. Gill’s, it is barely possible, he may have gathered this information from her, though it must be some eight or ten years since I have seen her, & the reading must have produced a strong impression upon her mind, if she can reproduce verbatim anything she heard so long ago — You remember perhaps, that I told you, several of my letters were missing — But I can hardly imagine they could have come into his hands! I cannot express to you how much this information annoys me. It makes me more unreconciled than ever, to the fact that the miserable man ever crossed my path! I am thankful that I never liked him, even tolerably well — I thought he might possibly, (if he were going into the lecture field) correct some of the cruel impressions made upon the public by Griswold, if he were able to say, he knew whereof he spoke. But we have to learn wisdom by bitter experience — (I ought to be wiser than Solomon!) Now I will try to answer some of your questions, though I am in a most unenviable frame of mind — I will write Mrs. Crane* for a photo of the poem, or a portion of it. I will also have “The Bells” photographed & forward them both to you, as soon as possible [page 178:] — by the way, after all my searching, I have found only three vols. of the magazine, & lest these should not be among those you particularly care for, I will send you the dates, & leave it for you to decide — Graham’s Mag. for 1843 — 1846, & 1848 — these are entire, from Jany. to Dec. complete (two vols. bound in one, making it all three volumes) — he, Mr. Burnham, antiquarian bookseller, has many others, but none of the dates you mention, & he insists that they cannot be found in Boston, for the reason that so many of the places where those things were preserved were destroyed by the great fire. I rather think he is correct, as I am told the same thing, wherever I go. He asks six dollars for the three volumes — is it too much for them? It seems to me so — though he says, he often has calls for these odd numbers.

To return again, literally to our Mouton! I have not seen the Library Table’s comments on Mrs. Whitman’s reply. I did see Gill’s scandalous attack upon you, in the Herald last week (Boston Sunday Herald). I would not send it to you, because I considered it beneath your notice! “No respectable literary man” would condescend to write an article of that nature! Even for the Herald! (Oh dear, I loathe the very name of the miserable fellow).

Am sorry to hear of Mrs. Houghton’s death just at this time, especially, as she could aid you in some respects, where we who are left cannot. I know very little concerning Mrs. Ellet,* except that Mr. Poe disliked her. I mean at the time I knew him — she was once his friend, but she exasperated him beyond forgiveness — so he said. In one of my missing letters, he had given me some details concerning her, & one or two other literary women, & I think this was the reason Mrs. Clemm wished to get possession of the letter — she borrowed it at one time & kept it a long while I remember, though I thought nothing of it, then. I have learned since to be — well — doubtful! I wish you could come to America before your book is published.

This is a most unsatisfactory letter — but I must send it.

Yours always very truly A.L.R. [page 179:]

P.S. I have changed my P. Office Box, it is now No. 84. If you have not time to write a letter just send a postal telling me about the magazines please at once

How Gill came by the extract he published from Poe’s letter to Mrs. Richmond is not known, but it was from one of the letters “missing” from her collection of Poe’s letters. Oddly enough, another of her letters from Poe made its way somehow to England, and was in Frederick Locker-Lampson’s autograph collection by 1880, and Ingram was given permission by the owner to copy it on February 6. The letter really was but a brief note that Poe wrote from Fordham on October 8, 1848, introducing Mrs. Sarah Anna (Stella) Lewis to Mrs. Richmond.(7)

“Mrs. W’s Reply” was a long letter by Sarah Helen Whitman to the New York Tribune, October 13, 1875,(8) in which she scathingly refuted Francis Gerry Fairfield’s statement that Poe had been an epileptic, made in Fairfield’s article, “A Madman of Letters,” Scribner’s Magazine, October, 1875.(9)

Gill’s attack on Ingram, prompted by Ingram’s brutal review of the Gill biography of Poe, was printed in the Boston Sunday Herald, November 18, 1877.

Mrs. Ellet remained one of Poe’s bitterest and most relentless enemies until her death on June 3, 1877. Mrs. Houghton had died on September 3, 1877.

Letter 57. Sarah H. Heywood, Lowell, to John Ingram, London. First printing. [Item 326]

Dec. 24, 1877

Dear Sir,

The flow of Christmas-tide always finds me here in the capacity of “spare hand,” and it is my habit — at this time — to do as I am bidden. Mrs. Richmond is busy at “The Home” today, and she asks me to say to you that she has received the third volume of the Memoir, also your letter of the 12th inst.

I think she is entirely willing to trust your judgment & taste in regard to the article of which you speak. But she will write you more particularly of that. [page 180:]

The Photograph I sincerely hope you will be able to obtain. She has never sat for one, tho’ we have often urged her doing so. Perhaps your request may prevail.

With cordial greeting from Mrs. Richmond, I am

Very truly &c. S. H. Heywood

Ingram had asked Mrs. Richmond’s opinion about some things in an article on Poe he was preparing for magazine publication, and it was the sweeping, overall permissions, such as this one in Sarah Heywood’s letter, that helped him justify his printing almost verbatim the copies of Poe’s letters that Mrs. Richmond had sent to him, “so that he would understand Poe better” — or at least Ingram used these statements as justification.

Someone must have persuaded Mrs. Richmond finally to sit for at least one photograph, for there is one of her reproduced in Mary E. Phillip’s Edgar Allan Poe: The Man, II, 1294.

“The Home” was the Lowell orphanage.

Letter 58. Annie Richmond, Lowell, to John Ingram, London. First printing. [Item 327]

Dec. 30th [18]77

My dear friend,

With many thanks, I return the papers you so kindly sent me — It is a mystery, I shall probably never fathom, how that extract came in Mr. G’s* possession — I suspect he has nothing more, or he would have made use of it in his Memoir — No one can see my papers, except with my consent, as they are carefully locked up always — I feel that I am in your power, for you know everything connected with my acquaintance with Mr. Poe — but, as I have before told you, I also feel that I can trust you implicitly — not a human being, except my sister, knows what I have done, & no other person has ever had my unlimited confidence, beside yourself — In your biography of course I expect my name will appear, but if you write a sketch to be published previously, I would prefer not to be named, as it would undoubtedly be copied & have a [page 181:] wide circulation & it would be read by a different class of persons from those who would read the book. I hope you understand the feeling that prompts me to make this request. I would not restrict your use of the material in your possession but only ask, that my name be withheld. Believing that you have from the first comprehended the delicacy of my position & that you have understood my unwillingness to be brought before the public, except in vindication of a name dearer to me than any other in the world, & also, believe that you will be “careful,” I leave myself in your hands, confident that I shall never have cause for regret — I met Mr. Gill at the “Old South Fair,” & he would have been cordial, but I shrank from him as if he had been a reptile, & passed on, without giving him an opportunity to say anything, except, to express his “delight” at seeing me there! (Would that we had never met!) I enclose his scurrilous attack upon you, at your request, although I consider it beneath your notice — I am delighted at the prospect of seeing you, & hope the day is not far distant — next year — surely — If I can make up my mind to sit for a picture you shall have one — my sister forwarded my thanks for Vol. 3, I believe. I am writing hurriedly for I have a friend waiting, & I want to mail this tonight — Hoping the New Year will bring you blessings in abundance, & that we shall meet before its close, I am yours

Always very truly Annie R.

Within a few months after this letter was written Mrs. Richmond learned how much she would indeed regret having sent Ingram copies of her letters from Poe and how little he understood or cared about the delicacy of her position; for he published a number of the copies of her letters almost verbatim in Appleton’s Journal, along with other letters Poe had written during the same period. Mrs. Richmond was deeply hurt to see her letters in print; Mrs. Whitman had cherished for nearly thirty years the dream that she alone had been Poe’s dearest love, but Ingram’s publication of Poe’s letters to Annie Richmond, with the dates that coincided with his letters to her, dispelled that dream.

Poe’s letters to Mrs. Whitman are truly passionate literary love letters; his letters to Mrs. Richmond are passionate personal love letters. Ingram’s publication served to break relations and correspondence with both ladies, but [page 182:] he already had in his possession all of the Poe materials anyone could hope to get from them.

Letter 59. Annie Richmond, Lowell, to John Ingram, London. First printing. [Item 328]

Jany.8th 1878

My dear friend,

I am sure you will sympathize with me most truly & deeply, when I tell you, that the enclosed is all that I have left, of my manuscript of “The Bells”! I took it to a Photographer, one of the oldest & most reliable in the city — he began the work, had got so far, was called away, forgot where he put it, & it has been stolen or lost! He has advertised it offering a large reward, but I doubt if it is ever found — he had with it, the “Dream within a dream” which was dedicated to me, the only proof I have, or had that it was written for me! If he had only copied that before it was lost, I could have borne it better. But it has made me really ill — all my other trials, pecuniary embarrassments etc., seem trivial & of no account — time may bring all right, but this one — alas, there is no consolation for such grief, no compensation for such a loss! I cannot write at length today, I am too much depressed, to think of anything, but my great loss! The man feels so badly, that I cannot find it in my heart to say much to him — he says, he would give five hundred dollars in one moment, to put his eyes upon it once more, & restore it to me — I believe him — none of my family know it as yet, for I have not quite lost all hope, that the reward may bring it — excuse this hastily penned note & believe me

Yours ever Annie L. R

The lost manuscript of “The Bells” was Poe’s third draft of the poem, written probably in late May of 1849, when he was visiting the Richmonds in Lowell. He had sent a manuscript of the last fifteen lines of “A Dream Within a [page 183:] Dream,” entitled “For Annie,” to Mrs. Richmond earlier in 1849. The photographer, N. C. Sanborn, 50 Merrimack St., Lowell, advertised in the Lowell Courier, offering a liberal reward for the return of the lost poems, without saying what they were or to whom they belonged. The Detroit Free Press picked up the advertisement and jocularly advised the Lowell postmaster to prepare to wrestle with several tons of manuscript poetry, for every newspaper man in the United States would be glad to give freely from his treasured stock of manuscript poetry until Mr. Sanborn should cry “Hold! enough!”

Letter 60. Annie Richmond, Lowell, to John Ingram, London. First printing. [Item 330]

Feby. 5th [18]78

My dear friend,

The Gods be praised! My lost manuscripts have been recovered! They were found in the Post Office, among the “dead letters,” but how they came there, is the great mystery! I have had the “Dream” copied, & will enclose it. “The Bells” are being done, & shall be forwarded at the earliest moment — so there is one bright spot upon my (at present) cloudy horizon — Your kind favor of the 7th ult. reached me on Saturday last (Feby. 2nd) & I should have replied at once, but thought the next steamer would bring me a reply to the letter which told you of my loss, as I mailed them so nearly together — but now that I have such good news, I will not delay a moment longer, hoping that the enclosure though late, will be in season for your sketch if you wish to use it. For a week past, I have been quite ill — under the care of a physician who wishes me if possible to keep quiet, & not “worry” about anything! I think the sight of my lost treasures, has done more for me than all his medicine, though it really overcame me, when they were put in my hand. It seemed almost incredible, that they would ever be found, & I felt as if I had received a message from the spirit world! Did I tell you about “The Dream”? It was sent me as you see it, in a sort of farewell [page 184:] letter, (which is one of the missing ones, that I have mentioned to you) then afterward, the addition was made, & it was published in the “Flag of our Union” — As I have not the letter which accompanied it, I am unable to give you the precise date, but it was in connection with the Whitman affair, that the letter was written — I am rejoiced to know that there is a prospect of your coming here. I do hope nothing will occur, to prevent the carrying out of your plan for doing so. As regards what I said, about being in your power my dear friend, understand me please, I am in your power, but willingly so — all I ask is that you will use it just as you would wish another to use it, if it were your wife, or your sister, who occupied my position! Did I not feel sure that you thoroughly understand & comprehend the relation I sustained to Mr. Poe, I should be of all people most miserable, for I need not tell you, what might be made of that correspondence — indeed what nine out of ten persons, who should be given your opportunities, would make of it — I can hardly realize at times, that my inmost heart has been laid bare to a stranger! For a long time after I received your first letter, I delayed replying to it, trying to convince myself that it was absurd to say the least, to expect anyone would do us both justice, especially, one who was a stranger to us both! Do you not sometimes wonder, I dared so fully to trust you? But my impulse was too strong to be resisted, & I yielded for his sake, for, as I think I told you then, it seemed to me, his history could not be justly written, while the revelations contained in those letters, of his honor & purity, were unknown to his biographer — in haste for today’s mail —

Very truly your friend A.L.R.

The copy of “A Dream Within A Dream” enclosed in this letter was the last fifteen lines of that poem, here entitled “For Annie.” Poe revised the poem still once more and published it as “A Dream Within A Dream” in The Flag of Our Union, March 31, 1849. Ingram reproduced this manuscript in the London Bookman for January, 1909. Ingram did not carry out his plan to visit Mrs. Richmond. She was shortly to regret, and bitterly, that she had laid bare her “inmost heart” to a stranger. [page 185:]

Letter 61. Annie Richmond, Lowell, to John Ingram, London. First printing. [Item 331]

Feby. 12th 1878

My dear friend

I have a confession to make to you — I do not think I have ever fully appreciated your Memoir until now. Since I have been confined to the house, & obliged, to some extent, to give up my outside duties & cares, I have read more leisurely, & among other things, have re-read very carefully, your faithful & just tribute to my precious Eddie, for he was indeed very precious, & his affection for me, is the most precious memory my heart holds. It matters not to me, who were his friends — how many, or how dear they were, it is enough for me to feel assured that among those friends, I had a place — of course, the world would not, could not, understand our friendship, & I have always avoided speaking of him, as a friend, but only as an acquaintance, whom I met for the first time, when he came here to lecture. The loss of “The Bells” has given more publicity to our friendship, than anything previous, even Mr. Gill’s book! When it was known, that the “missing manucript” was the original of that wonderful poem, there was great curiosity to know who owned it, & I told Mr. Sanborn I wished to have my name suppressed, but he could say, it belonged to a lady friend of the author. The Boston Sunday papers yesterday had the name, (however they found it out), which will I suspect, be a source of annoyance to Mr. Gill, as he wished it understood, that he was the fortunate possessor of it. But I have not told you, indeed, I fear I never can express all the exquisite joy & the boundless gratitude I felt, as I laid down your book, last night. I had only one regret — that I did not know what you were doing, at the time. However, it may be just as well now — by the way, there is a notice in the papers, that Mrs. John Weiss* has just published an account of the “last days of Edgar Poe” — whether in book form, or as a newspaper sketch, I do not yet know, but will try to get it for you, though I do not imagine it can contain anything really new. I am not surprised at your indignation at my loss. I could [page 186:] not feel as you did, because I knew Mr. Sanborn was, if possible, more grieved than ever I was — he was so overcome, that it seriously affected his health. He said if money could repair the loss, he would willingly give any amount he possessed — but his utter inability to make any reparation, was what made it so hard to bear. I really pitied him, & I told him I would rather be in my place than his — so I would — He took the roll every night, to a friend, just underneath his rooms, & had it locked in his fire proof safe — but the night he lost it, his friend had closed his store and gone, when he called, & he put it in his pocket to carry home — whether he himself put it into the P.O. Box with some other mail matter, or whether he dropped it at the office, & some one else picked it up, & put it in the Box, he does not know — he confesses, it was terribly careless — unpardonably so, & says it has learned him a lesson he shall never forget. But as it is safe, I have forgiven him, though it would have been very hard to do so, had it never been found. I am hoping yet to get the copy today — the weather has been so bad, he could not print it until yesterday. I suppose ere this reaches you, the “Dream” has been received. You will have the privilege of printing one thing, that has never appeared before — or rather, in the original form, which has never before been made public. I am so very thankful, Mr. Gill did not happen to get hold of it. Hoping to be able to send you the copy of “The Bells” by tomorrow, I am, dear sir, yours very truly.

Annie R.

Tuesday P.M. [Feb.12, 1878] 4 O’clock

The copy of “The Bells” has just been sent to me, & I mail it with this today in a roll. I did not like to fold it. Hope it will reach you safely, & prove satisfactory. I shall be anxious to hear from it — also, from the “Dream” mailed the 6th. I should write more, but am in haste to send this by the 5 o’clock N. York mail this P.M. Yours always,

A.L.R. [page 187:]

Gill had borrowed Mrs. Richmond’s manuscript copy of “The Bells” so that he might read the poem with “better effect” at the dedication ceremonies for Poe’s monument in Baltimore in November, 1875. He did have a facsimile of it made and reproduced it in his biography of Poe, facing page 206.

Mrs. Richmond is a day off when she says the Boston Sunday papers “yesterday” carried her name in connection with “The Bells” manuscript. February 12,1878, the day she was writing to Ingram, fell on Tuesday. The Boston Sunday paper, probably the Boston Sunday Herald, would have been dated the tenth.

Mrs. John Weiss was Susan Archer Talley Weiss, who, as a girl, had met Poe in Richmond. Her long and valuable article, “The Last Days of Edgar A. Poe,” was published in Scribner’s Monthly, March, 1878, 707-716.

Letter 62. Annie Richmond, Lowell, to John Ingram, London. First printing. [Item 334]

March 17th 1878

My dear friend —

I beg pardon for having so long delayed replying to your kind favor of the 18th ult. It did not reach me, until three weeks after it was mailed, yet, it should have been answered at once, if only to thank you for the graceful & delicate manner in which you “ask” me a favor! Surely my friend, you will believe me, when I say, your proposition to associate my name, with the dearest one I have ever known, will be to me a most precious tribute, to the sweetest memory my heart holds. The manner in which it shall be done, I leave entirely to your own taste, with the same confidence that I have trusted everything pertaining to that acquaintance, to your honor — need I say more? Ere this you have doubtless received the copy of “The Bells,” the “Radical Review,” and the “Scribner,” all of which I trust, will interest you. The notice I enclose from a religious (!) paper, seems to me the most cruel & uncalled for, of anything I have seen for years. How can a person say such things, even if they believe them to be true, especially of one who has so few left to defend him! I cannot understand it. I sincerely hope your paper will most effectively [page 188:] “crush” these “forgers, liars, and slanderers” — God forgive them, for “they know not what they do.” I believe it grieves me if possible, more than ever to read such things, for it seems to me time to forget his failings, & remember only his grand intellectual worth, if he had no virtues to be remembered.

How soon will your article appear? What a pity “One who knew him” is not here to receive his share of the castigation, when it does come! Be sure & tell me how that notice of Gill’s book impresses you — I think you will enjoy it immensely — I did!

The reminiscences of Mrs. Weiss are certainly very pleasant, & I feel grateful to her, for every kind word she has said. I have thought of writing & telling her so, but have neglected it so long now, that I may not at all.

You ask if I will part with my manuscripts. I certainly have no intention of doing so, just at present — but I will answer that question, more at length, when I see you — by the way, have you a photograph of my friend Mr. Ingram, that you could send me, so that I shall know him when he comes! I should most certainly have complied with your request, if I had ever sat for a picture. I have almost promised my family that I will do so this spring — if I do, you shall be remembered. My health is at present perfectly good —

Yours always —

Annie R.

Ingram’s questions to Mrs. Richmond about parting with her manuscripts, which would include her autograph letters from Poe, and her indication of her willingness to talk about the subject when he came to America here take on especial poignancy; for after Ingram printed Poe’s letters to her in Appleton’s Journal, she destroyed almost all of her letters from Poe and other papers relating to their relationship.

When Mrs. Richmond wrote this letter, she was fifty-eight years old, and she had another twenty years to live. The one published photograph of her, in Mary E. Phillips’ Edgar Allan Poe: The Man, appears to have been made about this age.

The Radical Review, printed in New Bedford, Massachusetts, probably contained Gill’s article on Poe in which he quoted an excerpt from one of Poe’s letters to Mrs. Richmond. The “religious paper” is unidentified, but the [page 189:] clipping from it, enclosed in this letter, was a reprint of a portion of C. F. Briggs’ posthumous article, “The Personality of Poe,” and subtitled, “Poe as he was, by one who knew him,” which had first appeared in The Independent, December, 13, 1877. Briggs had died on June 20, 1877. In this article Briggs declared that Poe, when drunk, was a terror to his wife and mother-in-law.

Gill’s Life of Poe had been reissued in January, 1878; the notice of it that Mrs. Richmond so markedly enjoyed must have been unfavorable.

Letter 63. Annie Richmond, Lowell, to John Ingram, London. First printing. [Item 335]

April 1st 1878

Not yet heard from

Roll of Manuscript — “The Bells”

Radical Review” — (New Bedford)

Scribner’s Monthly” — (article by Mrs. Weiss)

Letter dated March 17th with notice of “Poe as he was” by, “One who knew him” — Hope soon to hear, all the above are in your possession —

Yours truly —

Annie R.

The “roll of manuscript” had been mailed to Ingram from Lowell on February 12, 1878, and Mrs. Richmond’s anxiety about it is understandable. But Ingram’s correspondence was very heavy at this period, and he had to perform his daily duties in the English Civil Service, which made his replies sometimes tardier than his correspondents thought they should be.

Letter 64. Annie Richmond, Lowell, to John Ingram, London. First printing. [Item 353]

May 19th 1880

My dear Sir —

Your postal has just reached me. I am glad to hear from you again, for I have been very anxious to know what you [page 190:] would do about my letters. I hope they are not coming out in the new volume — yet, I suppose, I am “hoping against hope!” It will not surprise or shock me, as did their appearance in the magazine, but it will be a life-long regret! However, it is too late to discuss the matter now.

Mr. Davidson’s address is the same as it used to be — Box 567, New York.

Thank you for the promise of the Memoir. I shall be anxious to see it — though I know it will bring a pang to my heart —

Yours truly — A. L. Richmond

[on verso]

Mr. E. C. Stedman has a very fine sketch of Mr. Poe in Scribner’s Monthly. Have you seen it? What he says of the poem “For Annie” pleased me.(10)

The formality of Mrs. Richmond’s salutation to Ingram in this letter shows clearly that all cordiality on her part was over. She had been deeply wounded when her letters from Poe appeared in Appleton’s Journal in 1878; and she knew that they would reappear in Ingram’s biography of Poe.

There is a hiatus of more than two years between Letters 63 and 64; if she did write to Ingram between April l, 1878, and May 19, 1880, her letters have not survived in Ingram’s Poe collection. Ingram did try to reason with her through the mails, pointing out sentences and phrases in her letters that seemed to give him permission to do as he thought best with her letters. Apparently, she did not quarrel violently with him, but obviously all of her playfulness, her affectionate greetings and regard for him were things of the past when she wrote this letter.

By “promise of the Memoir,” she certainly indicates that Ingram had just written to her, for his two-volume biography of Poe had just come from the press at this time.

Letter 65. Annie Richmond, Lowell, to John Ingram, London. First printing, [Item 357] [page 191:]

July 9th 1880

Dear Mr. Ingram

Please accept my sincere & grateful thanks for your kind favors — the two beautiful volumes & your kind letter — all of which reached me in safety two weeks ago. I owe you an apology for this tardy acknowledgment of your kindness, but I was just starting for the seashore when I received them & had not time to write — or even to examine the Memoirs. I must confess, that the portion of my letter which you enclose — detached from its surrounding — seems to grant you a larger liberty, than I supposed could be obtained from anything which I had ever written to you — but even with this liberty, I think the injunction that you would give the public, what you would be willing they should know, if the letters had been addressed to your sister or your wife, covered all the ground with restrictions & confined it, to a very narrow limit. I supposed you would merely give the ideas of the writer, as you gathered them from reading the letters — but I did not dream of seeing them appear word for word as they were written! The shock was indeed a terrible one to me — it seemed sacrilege truly — I felt condemned, that I had allowed them to pass out of my hands. But it is useless to discuss the matter now. You evidently did not understand my feelings about them, or you would never have put them in print. I am very very thankful, that my name has been withheld — very few I think, even among my friends, will recognize them as addressed to me. Would you have published those addressed to Mrs. Whitman, had she been living? There are portions of her letters, as well as many things in mine, which can hardly be considered worthy of preserving for the author’s sake, & which might be construed to his disadvantage. However, what is done is done cannot be undone — so here the matter must rest.

The vols. are very nicely gotten up & much of the material is exceedingly interesting. I hope you may come to America & that I shall see you, when we will talk this matter over, with more freedom than we can write.

Again thanking you for your kindness, I am, sir,

Yours very truly —

A. L. Richmond [page 192:]

After seeing her letters from Poe in print in Ingram’s Appleton’s Journal* article, Mrs. Richmond was thereafter, for the next twenty years, inaccessible to anyone seeking information about Poe.

Ingram had withheld her name in the Appleton’s Journal article, but in the “two beautiful volumes,” which were of course his 1880 biography of Poe, he had written a chapter which he entitled “Annie” (II, 187-221), in which he reproduced all of Poe’s letters to her, named the Richmond family in Lowell, and had reprinted and assigned authorship of “Recollections of E. A. Poe,” to Mrs. Richmond’s younger sister, Sarah Heywood. When Mrs. Richmond thanks Ingram in this letter for withholding her name, it can only mean she had not examined the books, much less read them closely.

Mrs. Whitman was living when Ingram’s article was published and at first she seemed to take the wound it gave her with equanimity, remarking that she was already “ankle-deep in asphodels,” and had not the time or energy left to quarrel with John Ingram again. Later, it seems she changed her mind, for she did publish her first attack on the article and Ingram in the Providence Journal for May 4, 1878, fifty-four days before she died.

Mrs. Richmond’s “the portion of my letter which you enclose” assuredly refers to Ingram’s having returned to her one of her frequently written effusive permissions for him to use in any way he chose the Poe materials she was sending to him so regularly. But her reservations had been strongly stated and implied in many other letters.

Mrs. Richmond died in Lowell on February 9, 1898, after having mourned for Poe for nearly half a century.

Annie Richmond’s correspondence with John Ingram had begun on August 15, 1876, and it lasted nearly two years. From the first letter, her correspondence was marked by warmth, excitement, trust, and gratitude, and with pleasure which deepened into strong partisanship and even affection. But after twenty-two valuable letters to Ingram, with three more that her sister wrote, the correspondence, on Mrs. Richmond’s side, stopped abruptly.

Why had John Ingram permitted this to happen? It is this writer’s opinion that there really was no lack of understanding on Ingram’s part about Mrs. Richmond’s sending him copies of her letters from Poe or how she really expected him to use them; nor do I think he failed to understand clearly the personal awkwardness that would result for her when it became public, as it certainly did, that Poe was addressing passionate love letters to her when she was the wife of another man and he was engaged to marry another woman. But Poe’s letters to Mrs. Richmond and her personal revelations about Poe and Mrs. Clemm [page 193:] were simply too valuable to Poe biography for Ingram to keep them hidden, or even to use them in the manner she had made quite clear she expected.

By deliberately betraying Mrs. Richmond’s trust, Ingram added very much indeed to our knowledge of Poe’s personal life and feelings, and he certainly generated much interest in his biography of Poe. Foremost of the valuable outcomes of this correspondence were the many letters that Ingram was given access to. Through Mrs. Richmond’s impulsive generosity he got copies of more unpublished Poe letters than any biographer of Poe had or ever has had: she sent him complete copies of the eight letters she had left from Poe (some were “missing” through Mrs. Clemm’s handling of them). Of these, Ingram published portions of seven in his Appleton’s Journal article in May, 1878; in his Life in 1880, he reproduced these again, with a few changes in the texts, and added an eighth, a short note in which Poe described to Annie the successful lecture he had delivered in Providence on “The Poetic Principle.” In addition to these personal letters, he was able, through her copies, to publish for the first time Poe’s letter to William E. Burton, June 1, 1840, which established Poe’s authorship of “The Journal of Julius Rodman,” one of Ingram’s most important discoveries in Poe’s canon of writings. He could print, too, for the first time, a letter Poe had written to Mrs. Jane Ermina Locke on March 10, 1847, replying to her letter of sympathy regarding his wife’s death and in which she had taken occasion to enclose some of her verses asking for his critical opinions of them. Another unpublished letter Ingram was able to print was Poe’s plea to Sarah Heywood, Annie’s sister, dated November 23, 1848, in which he implores her to get Annie to write to him. And finally, Ingram was the first to print Poe’s letter of January 25, 1849, to Mrs. Sarah Helen Whitman (See Ostrom, II, 420-22), since Poe had enclosed it to Annie for mailing to Mrs. Whitman and Annie had made a copy of it, which she sent to Ingram.

Other discoveries that Ingram came to through Annie Richmond were of major import:

Evidence that there was more than one manuscript version of “The Bells,” which really was the third version. Ingram got a copy of this.

Copies of Poe’s manuscripts of “A Dream Within a Dream,” “For Annie,” and “El Dorado.”

A hitherto unknown daguerreotype of Poe. [page 194:]

Information about uncollected Poe articles on “Chapters on Autography” and “secret writing.”

Evidence that should dispel forever the “mystery” of what actually became of the trunk Poe left in Balitmore [[Baltimore]] in 1849.

Information about an interesting and fairly reliable article about Poe by Mrs. John (Susan Archer Talley) Weiss.

Tender, sincere, loving recollections of Poe’s appearance, personality, manners, and behavior that could have come from no other source so concerned and so trustworthy.

With all of these letters and facts, intimate descriptions and recollections from Mrs. Richmond, Ingram was able to write a long and interesting chapter called “Annie” in his Life, which certainly added to the value of his biography. The fact that he betrayed her trust in him and took advantage of her warm, impulsive nature can be regretted, but it must be remembered that because he did so he was able to add a glorious chapter to Poe biography.



[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 147:]

1.  August 28-29 (?). See John Ward Ostrom (ed.), The Letters of Edgar Allan Poe (2 vols.; Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1948).

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 150:]

2.  William Fearing Gill, Life of Edgar Allan Poe (Boston: William F. Gill & Co., 1877), 209-213.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 156:]

3.  This letter settles once and for all the long-standing and ridiculously bitter controversy of what finally became of Poe’s trunk: Neilson Poe sent it to Mrs. Clemm in Lowell, Massachusetts. Since Mrs. Clemm detested Rosalie Poe so heartily and never saw her or corresponded with her after Edgar’s death, it is most unlikely she would have allowed Rosalie to have the trunk or anything else that had belonged to her brother. The theory that Rosalie later owned the trunk and sold it or gave it to other persons is unfounded.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 166:]

4.  Gill certainly did have a copy of “The Bells,” and he reproduced it in his The Life of Edgar Allan Poe (New York: C. T. Dillingham; Boston: IV. F. Gill Company, 1877), p. 207.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 167:]

5.  [Item 44]

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 173:]

6.  [Item 708]

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 179:]

7.  [Item 347]

8.  [Item 619]

9.  [Item 628]

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 190:]

10.  E. C. Stedman’s article, “Edgar Allan Poe,” appeared in Scribner’s Monthly, May, 1880, pp. 107-124. [Item 769]






[S:0 - JCMBPB, 1977] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Bookshelf - Building Poe Biography (J. C. Miller) (Chapter 6)