Text: Mary E. Phillips, “Section 08,” Edgar Allan Poe: The Man (1926), pp. 1512-1596


[page 1512:]


AFTERMATH, 1849-1922

SOME little time after the poet’s death, Mr, Neilson Poe ordered, of Hugh Sisson, a headstone for his cousin Edgar’s resting-place, in Westminster burial ground.(1) Its inscription read:

Hic tandem felice conduntur Reliquiae,

Edgar Allan Poe.”

The day before its planned erection, a Northern Central freight train jumped the track adjoining Sisson’s marble-yard, through which the heavy cars smashed their wild ways, and to atoms this Memorial Judge Poe had made for his poet cousin. Therefore, excepting a sandstone lot-marker, “No. 80,” placed upon Poe’s grave by Sexton Spence, it remained unnamed until Miss Sara Sigourney Rice, and others of Baltimore, raised funds for George A. Frederick’s design for the monument to Edgar Allan Poe. It was unveiled November 17, 1875, in Westminster Churchyard, with appropriate ceremonies. They were shared by eminent speakers of Baltimore with those of other home-land cities: and sympathetic literati the world over sent tributes of praise to our poet of many lands’ appreciation. Thus it came about that twenty-six years after his death Edgar A. Poe was removed from his first grave to his present resting-place by Sexton George W. Spence. He told the late [page 1513:] Orin C. Painter, who for years cared for the poet’s grave (by a marker astray), on his anniversaries and otherwise, that Poe had been seen “completely absorbed in thought, a number of times wandering around among the old graves of Westminster burial-ground. He seldom had anything to say unless spoken to.” Because Sexton Spence twice buried the poet and had “spoken to” the living man, this triple service claims his picture space in these pages.

“Strange, is it not, that Poe will not stay put!” With these words concerning the poet’s two burials, [page 1514:] two placings of his headstone and three models of his statue by the late Sir Moses Ezekiel, Miss Harriet P. Marine, of Baltimore, calls attention to Miss May G. Evans’ recent discovery that the late Mr. Painter’s marker for the poet’s grave, by some inadvertence, was placed in lot No. 38 (owned by the family of S. P. Tustin) instead of lot No. 27 of Westminster Churchyard, Fayette and Green Streets, Baltimore. General David Poe rests in lot No. 27, which belonged to him. Miss Marine kindly sent a photograph of correct locations of both headstones after the removal of the poet’s, now in nearer touch, as was his first grave, with that of his grandfather.

The unveiling ceremonies of the poet’s monumeut were held in the Western High School building, in [page 1515:] 1875 neighborly locality with Westminster Churchyard. Professor William Elliott, junior, gave a graphic sketch of this entire tribute movement, led by John [page 1516:] Basil, Junior. As early as 1865, the Baltimore School Teachers’ Association began, by literary entertainments and other means, to secure funds for a Poe Memorial. The $627.50 so obtained grew to $887.50 by 1874, toward George A. Frederick’s design of greater cost. Mr. George W. Childs — special friend of Colonel John H. B. Latrobe — held him under bonds of silence as to this supplied difference.(2) Miss Rice read letters of regret for absence, from the laurel-crowned of our own and foreign lands. Most fitting was the Poe epitaph from Alfred Tennyson, whom Poe voted “the greatest poet of his day.” These epitaph lines were:

“Fate that once denied him,

And envy that once decried him,

And malice that belied him,

Now cenotaph his fame.”

And perhaps no tribute was of more sweeping significance than that of the dramatic littérateur, William Winter, one of whose verses, “At Poe’s Grave,” is:

“Through many a year his fame has grown, —

Like midnight, vast, like starlight sweet, —

Till now his genius fills a throne,

And nations marvel at his feet.”

Judge Neilson Poe made a few appropriate remarks as to the gratification of the poets family that “the good and noble traits of character of the dead are being recognized by an impartial public.” Judge Poe’s earlier record noted that his Cousin Edgar “was one of the best hearted men that ever lived. In society his manner was sometimes cold, his bearing proud and haughty, but at home and amongst his intimate friends, his kind and affectionate nature manifested itself in all its sweetness.”

Scholarly Dr. Henry E. Shepherd gave a masterful address of convincing force on Poe, the classic. From Dr. Shepherd came: “I saw all that was mortal of Poe when his coffin was opened at his second burial.

I have a piece of his casket. The skull was in excellent condition — the shape of the forehead, one of Poe’s striking features, was easily discerned. The teeth were perfect and white as pearl. Coming face to face with Poe thus, November, 1875, was a unique experience.” Dr. Shepherd’s address was followed by the recitation of “The Raven,” by William Fearing Gill. [page 1518:] Then Colonel John H. B. Latrobe — as one who had seen the man, and judged of the literary Poe — gave personal reminiscences, closing with, “I heard of him in terms of praise . . . sometimes . . . of censure, . . . now . . . he has passed away, leaving his fame behind him, to last while our language lasts . . . I . . . think of him only as the author who gave to the world ‘The Raven’ . . . and many a gem besides of noble verse”; one who illustrated the power of the English tongue in prose composition not less logical than imaginative.”

Among the eminent — and some personally known to Poe — on the platform were seen the silver-swept, poetic head of Walt Whitman, Professor John H. Hewitt, — of the long-ago Baltimore Saturday Visiter, — Dr. J. Evans Snodgrass, Professor Nathan C. Brooks, — editor of the American Magazine, of early grace to Poe, — and his beloved Richmond schoolmaster, Professor Joseph H. Clarke.

Of the throng around the poets new grave of that clay was a youth whose deeply-rooted admiration ‘won some forty years — more or less — of ardent devotion to the righting of the many wrongs done Edgar Allan Poe the man, in many lands. These records are crystallized in “Complete Poems of E. A. Poe, with Memoir” — now in its fifth edition — by James H. Whitty, of Richmond, Virginia. He also led, with others, the creation of the Edgar Allan Poe Shrine in the heart of that city.

Musical numbers were given throughout the program of that Baltimore, November, 1875, Poe Memorial celebration: and one wonders if our poet, of immortal dreams, was listening to “Sweet and Low,” [page 1519:] by his beloved Tennyson, when its magical sway of pathos swept into the silence of that closing day, and lilting with its thrill of joy and tears unto the soul’s repose of Edgar Allan Poe. For he wrote: “It is in music, perhaps, that the soul most nearly attains the great end for which, when inspired by poetic sentiment, it struggles — the creation of supernal beauty. We are often made to feel, with shivering delight, that from an earthly harp are stricken notes which cannot have been unfamiliar to the angels.”

In the Baltimore Sun, October 8, 1849, appeared:


“We regret to learn that Edgar A. Poe; Esq., the distinguished American poet, scholar and critic, died in this city yesterday morning after an illness of five days,” etc.

From Mr. Lewis Thompson came a May, 1921, New York Times clipping which heralds “Sweet and Low,” and endears, from the literary heart of La Belle France, this tribute to the memory of our poet:

“Prominent among the arrivals on the Paris were Count Francis de Byron-Kuhn de Pronk and Prince Edgard de Waldeck, who have come to this country as official representatives of the Trench Literary Society and the Alliance Française. They bring with them a bronze wreath bearing the inscription: ‘To the memory of Edgar Allan Poe, eternally dear to the hearts of his French friends, this small tribute to his genius is dedicated.’ The bronze wreath will be placed on Poe’s grave in Baltimore.”

Surely, Poe the man would have exclaimed, “That [page 1521:] is recognition!” and his spirit’s response must be, to this longed-for call of belated Fame,

“My heart would hear her and beat,

Were it earth in an earthy bed;

My dust would hear her and beat,

Had it lain for a century dead;

Would start and tremble under her feet,

And blossom in purple and red.”


This idealism — a spray of Victory palms intertwined with laurels, in artistic bronze, was permanently attached to the poet’s Baltimore Monument (where he rests in Westminster Churchyard, corner of Fayette and Greene Streets), under the personal direction of Edgar Allan Poe II., a relative and resident of that city. Truly the memory of our poet is of vital force in France, as is also attested by “La Vie d‘Edgar A. Poe,” by André Fontainas, Paris, 1919; and then, in its second edition, in that city of light.

Concerning “Unveiling of Poe Statue Ceremonies” it comes from Miss H. P. Marine, that at Wyman Park, Baltimore, Thursday, October 20, Mrs. Lawrence Turnbull, president of the Edgar Allan Poe Association, with an appropriate address presented this society’s statue of the poet, by the late Sir Moses Ezekiel, to Mayor Wm. F. Broening. The brilliant unveiling tribute to the poet was delivered by Dr. C. Alphonso Smith, formerly Edgar Allan Poe Professor of English, University of Virginia, and now head of the Department of English at the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md. The little Misses Eleanor L. Poe, great-great-niece [page 1523:] of the poet, and Frances L. Turnbull, granddaughter of Mrs. Lawrence Turnbull, released the unveiling ribbons before the especially invited six hundred guests. Mrs. Turnbull gave conspicuous credit to Mrs. John C. Wrenshall, first president of the Poe Memorial Society, founded by her, as was also started the project of this statue. Its finish was assured by the generous donation of the late Mr. Orin C. Painter. The sculptor’s first clay model was destroyed by fire when on its way to the foundry for enduring form of bronze. While waiting for his second model to be cast, an earthquake devastated the place where it stood. When Sir Ezekiel’s third model was perpetuated in bronze, his inspired words were: “I cannot say that I regret the past mishaps at all, because I am sure that this monument is, in every way, much superior to the others.”

In the Richmond Whig, October 9, 1849, appeared of the poet’s death: It is with profound grief that we give place this morning to the painful intelligence . . . received in yesterday evening’s mail, . . . it eras but the other day that the deceased was delighting our citizens with a lecture as beautiful as his own genius was powerful . . . that he was walking in our streets in the vigor of manhood and mingling with acquaintances in the sociability of friendship. . . . The news of the death of Mr. Poe will fall with a heavy and crushing weight upon one in this city who is related to him by the tender tie of sister; . . . whilst it will be read with, profound regret by all who appreciate generous qualities or admire genius.”(3)

Arched over the span of Time, from 1849 to the present day, appears another long-delayed but rich [page 1524:] “recognition” for which Poe, the living man, so eagerly sought and earned. With many years of strenuous, selfless and effective service Messrs. James H. Whitty, William G. Stanard and Dr. Douglas Freeman of Richmond, Virginia, have led the fine-hearted Poe Memorial Trustees of that city to perpetuate the peerless genius of one who — as child, youth, and man that proudly proclaimed himself “a Virginian” — was a familiar figure of vitalizing presence in her attractive long ago. Concerning this Edgar Allan Poe Shrine in the heart of hearts of rare old Richmond City, where was cradled and nourished the germs of his triple crown as poet, editor and critic, Mr. Whitty writes:

“This day, October 7, 1921, at a first expenditure of about $20,000, completes the Edgar Allan Poe Shrine, and marks the seventy-second anniversary of [page 1525:] the death of the poet. If he is aware of mundane affairs he must be pleased to find that, at length, there has been reared to his memory a lasting and appropriate memorial. Mrs. Archer Jones took her inspiration for the Edgar Allan Poe Shrine, from the poet’s well-known lines:

‘Thou wast that all to me, love,

For which my soul did pine —

A green isle in the sea, love,

A fountain and a shrine,

All wreathed with fairy fruits and flowers,

And all the flowers were mine.

The Poe Memorial Trustees used building material from the Southern Literary Messenger building, the Ellis & Allan storehouse, where Poe, the youth, was once employed, and the house in which his mother died. In the Poe district on Main Street, the Old Stone House — the oldest structure in Richmond — was restored, and a ‘Poe Pergola’ was erected. The old Richmond rose-garden enchanted by Poe’s pen was called to life and place anew, with its fountain and flowers framed by three arches of the poet’s Shrine. The Old Stone House conserves Poe mementoes, in first editions of his works, his manuscripts and personalities.”

Could Edgar Poe, in spirit, behold this reincarnation of his “garden enchanted,” and of supernal Beauty that he worshipped, he would count his life of mortal miseries well spent, in

“The light that never was, on sea or land;

The consecration, and the Poet’s dream.” [page 1526:]

In the Philadelphia Dollar Newspaper of October 10, 1849 (quoted from The New York Globe), appeared: “Edgar A. Poe, the poet, died in Baltimore, on Monday.”(4)

October 24th date of the Dollar Newspaper noted of Charles Fenno Hoffman as “now in a Baltimore Hospital, . . . the clods are fresh over Edgar A. Poe, and now his compatriot in genius, Hoffman, following him so closely, [has become] . . . a miserable unfortunate, pitiful . . . maniac.”

Poe had a very special admiration for Hoffman the man and delighted in his keen flashes of wit.

In connection with this pathetic incident. Mrs. Elizabeth Oakes Smith wrote Dr. Griswold,(5) 1849: “I see, by public prints, my worst fears in regard to Mr. H. are realized. I know all his utterly unselfish, [page 1527:] beautiful character. Think of his magnificent intellect a wreck. He must not be shut up . . . that of itself would . . . drive him mad. Do see to it.”

Surely, Poe’s portion of disaster was preferable! The Dollar Newspaper of October 31st gave reprint of “The Bells” from “advance November copy of Sartain’s Magazine. But for brilliant Editor Hoffman, of Knickerbocker’s Magazine, all bells were then “jangling and out of tune.” As to Poe, later Dollar Newspaper dates gave him prose item prints and memorial verses. The most important of all was a “Faithful and just pen-sketch of him by the Hon. Robert T. Conrad,” in Vol. II or III, so Mr. McClellan was advised, in an 1875 letter from Mr. Richard Muckle, of the Philadelphia Ledger, who also knew Poe personally.

In a New York Tribune, 1830, editorial note, Horace Greeley(6) felt his need to write: “We learned by telegraph the fact of Poe’s death at Baltimore, in the afternoon following its occurrence and soon after, meeting Dr. Griswold, and knowing his acquaintance with Poe, asked him to prepare some account of the deceased for the next morning’s paper. He immediately and hastily wrote in our presence his two columns or more.” They were signed “Ludwig,” and were of such a character as to challenge the wrath of Poe’s best friends in N. P. Willis, George R. Graham, William J. Pabodie and others, by “the gross inaccuracies” of disfavor to Poe the man.. Dr. Griswold’s statement that he was then unconscious of being chosen as Poe’s literary executor seems seriously questioned by his own letter, accepting that trust, which [page 1528:] Miss Talley (Mrs. Susan A. T. Weiss, author of “Home Life of Poe”) recorded as seen by and read to her by Poe before he left Richmond, September 27, 1849. Notwithstanding some astray statements — as to age, etc. — of this “Ludwig” article were supplied by Poe-given data, evidently on other and inexcusable scores Mr. Greeley did feel “his need” of that “Editorial Note.”

Of Editor Greeley, Poe’s record was:

“Mr. HORACE GREELEY, present editor of ‘The New York Tribune,’ . . . has for many years been . . . one of the most able and honest of American editors. He has written much and invariably well. His political knowledge is equal to that of any of his contemporaries — his general information extensive. As a belles-letters critic he is entitled to high respect. [His chirography reminded Poe “of a jig”] . . . but we will venture to assert that Mr. Greeley (whom we do not know personally) is, personally, a very remarkable man.”

In strong, sweet contrast to Dr. Griswold’s “Ludwig” article on Poe in October 9, 1849, N. Y. Tribune, and after its worst features were transcribed by its writer into his Poe “Memoir” — in the 1850 “Literati,” Vol. III, of “Poe’s Work” — came Feb., 1852, notings of Poe, the man, by the Reverend Charles Chauncey Burr.(7) This editor of the Nineteenth Century, wrote of Edgar Poe: “A very gentle, thoughtful, scrupulously refined and modest kind of . . . man. Such a man as has left a place quite unfilled now that he has gone. How came he then to he so abused even when he was dead, and could not speak for himself? [page 1529:] The only charge that can with truth be brought against Poe is intemperance. . . . Yet he was far from being an habitual drunkard. For I may safely say, that in his whole life, he never drank so much as many of his enemies swallow down in a single month.” The significance of the foregoing words is marked, by reason of their writer caring for Poe through one of his congestion attacks, which was unconsciously aggravated by the smallest measure of stimulants.

In like contrast to the “Ludwig” Poe-article were N. P. Willis’ memorial comments on the poet, also other similar expressions after Poe’s Evening Mirror service.

The Home Journal of October 13, 1849, noted of Edgar A. Poe: “He frequently called on us . . . at our place of business, and we met him often in the street, — invariably [he was] the same sad-mannered, winning, and refined gentleman such as we had always known him, . . .” And in the poet’s letters Willis found “the very qualities denied to Mr. Poe, — humility, willingness to persevere, belief in another’s kindness, and capability of cordial, grateful friendship! . . . Such only he has invariably seemed to us, in all we have happened personally to know of him through a friendship of five or six years. And so much easier is it to believe what we have seen and known than what we hear of only, that we remember him but with admiration and respect. . . . It was by rumor only, up to the clay of his death, that we knew of any other development of manner or character. We heard, from one who knew him well, . . . that, with a single glass of wine, his whole nature was reversed . . . though [page 1530:] none of the usual signs of intoxication were visible, his will was palpably insane. . . . The arrogance, vanity and depravity of heart of which Mr. Poe was . . . accused seem . . . referable altogether to this reversed phase of his character. Under that degree of intoxication which . . . demonizing his sense of truth and right, he doubtless said and did much that was wholly irreconcilable with his better nature: but when himself, and as we knew him only, his modesty and unaffected humility, as to his own deservings, were a constant charm to his character. His letters . . . exhibit this quality strongly.”

Few seem to realize that Edgar Poe’s physical disability to withstand disastrous effects of stimulants either forced him into the social and editorial indulgence of those days at the expense of nerve-wreckage with contingent results, or into living an abject, isolated, lonely life, all but insupportable to one of the poet’s very social nature.

“Reminiscences of Poe,” signed “H. B. H.,” that Henry B. Hirst wrote, and had printed in the Philadelphia Saturday Courier, October 20, 1849, two weeks after Poe’s death and exactly eleven days after the October 9th New York Tribune “Ludwig” article on the poet’s death, was a very strong protest against Dr. Griswold’s treatment of Poe the man. Of his friend, Poe, Hirst wrote:

“We saw him thrice or twice a day for two years. . . . In all that time, . . . we never heard him express one single word of personal ill-feeling against any man, not even in his blackest hours of poverty.

“His criticisms of individuals, and they were nervous [page 1531:] enough, referred only to their literary merits, and he was always right. Unamiable he was not; he was otherwise to a fault, and always ready to forget and forgive. . . .”

It was at Mrs. Shew’s home, No. 51 West 10th Street, New York, that Mrs. Clemm, October 23, 1849, promptly wrote her heartfelt thanks to Henry B. Hirst for this strong defense of Poe in October 10th Philadelphia Saturday Courier just two weeks after the poet’s death. In her letter to Hirst appeared: “God bless you for doing justice to the memory of my own clear Eddie. . . . Since this deep affliction, I have been staying at the house of Mrs. S. Anna Lewis. . . . She was at the death-bed of my darling Virginia. . . . Eddie was much interested in her writings.”

Financially, by reason of Mr. Lewis’ generosity during famine issues with the poet’s family, Poe was never less than grateful — and in his revision and reviews of Mrs. Lewis’ “Records of the Heart” verses he fully repaid his debt to her. Mrs. Clemm requested Hirst, as a favor to herself, to write another critique of Mrs. Lewis’ poems that Poe had intended to write.

A crucifixion of Poe’s character — as a man — planted in the Golgotha grounds of his “Memoir” by R. W. Griswold (in the J. S. Redfield 1850 Volume of “The Literati” of “Poe’s Works”) claimed especially drastic, foreign attention from the Scotch scholar-critic Dr. George Gilfillan. On March 8, 1852, Dr. Gilfillan wrote to Sidney Dobell:(8) “Have you read Poe’s works. What a strange being, and what a horrid history! . . . think of a man so rarely gifted, with such a subtle and powerful intellect, [page 1532:] with gleams of positive inspiration lightening about him at times, and yet a wretch, a drunkard, living in hell and dying in a poorhouse.” Washington College Hospital, Baltimore, Md., where Poe had the best possible care, was very far from being a “poorhouse.” Dr. Gilfillan intensified Dr. Griswold’s fantastic fictions of the police story in Mrs. Whitman’s home — wholly disproved over her own and Mr. Pabodie’s signatures and in public print — and the like invention of Poe’s alleged assault on the second Mrs. Allan. Dr. Gilfillan, on his own account, added that Poe(9) hurried his wife to a premature grave to obtain inspiration for writing “The Raven” and “Annabel Lee.” Inspiration for “The Raven” was forcefully upon Poe when Virginia was about ten years old, and “Annabel Lee” was written six or more months prior to her death. Therefore Dr. Gilfillan, without due investigation that biography demands, overhastily placed before posterity such records as: “Poe had Satan substituted for soul. . . . His heart was as rotten as his conduct was infamous, [Nothing more ghoulish of the living, than the foregoing words, ever dripped from the nightmares of Poe’s congested brain, and pen into print.] . . . And yet, this man . . . gave . . . the most astonishing glimpses into the very depths of things, and . . . left some . . . wonderful productions . . . in verse and prose with more, I think, of true genius in them than anything from the American mind. . . . His intellect was of the clearest, sharpest and most decisive kind. . . . Lord, what is man!” — including Dr. George Gilfillan and his transatlantic Poe — authority Dr. R W. Griswold, who, notwithstanding, [page 1533:] paid rich tribute to the poet’s genius which was as fully recognized by Dr. Gilfillan.

In October 24, 1849, Oquawka, Illinois, Spectator, E. H. N. Patterson(10) printed: “Edgar A. Poe is dead. . . . The doings of the Supreme One are incomprehensible, and it is not for frail man to impugn His motives, else we might wonder why the lamented poet was removed so soon, and when he was upon the eve of realizing the cherished hope of his life! Arrangements had been made by which he was, had he lived, to be placed . . . at the head of a large magazine, which was to be entirely under his control. This statement may surprise many of his friends, but it is nevertheless true. We are personally knowing to the whole arrangement.”

In the October 31st, 1849, Spectator appeared some eight lines on the poet entitled,


“His spirit, before it left this lower earth,

Often in the starry heaven, where it had birth,

Communed with saintly souls and caught

Many a golden vision, which it brought

Back from the Dreamland of its heavenward flight —

Then held the glittering fancy to the sight

Of those who, less poetic, vainly sought

To rival him whose soul was heaven taught.”

Poe’s old-time Southern Literary Messenger of November, 1849, noted his connection with the first year of that periodical’s existence; also, that “Under his editorial management the work soon became known everywhere . . . no similar enterprise ever prospered so largely in its inception, . . . even Blackwood in [page 1534:] the days of Dr. Maginn, . . . ever published so many shining articles from the same pen. Those who will turn to the first two volumes of the Messenger will be struck with the number and variety of his contributions. On one page may be found some lyric cadence, plaintive and inexpressibly sweet, . . . On another some strange story of the German School, . . . But it was in the editorial department of the magazine that his power was most conspicuously displayed. There he appeared as the critic, not always impartial, . . . but ever merciless to the unlucky author who offended by a dull book. . . . It was the fashion with a large class to decry his literary pretensions, as a poet and romancer and scholar . . . while the critics of other lands and . . . tongues, the Athenæum and the Revue des deux Mondes, were warmly recognizing his high claims. . . . Unquestionably he was a man of great genius. . . . Conventionality he condemned. . . . The fastidious reader may look in vain, even among his earlier poems — where ‘wild words wander here and there,‘for an offense against rhetorical propriety. He did not easily pardon solecisms in others; he committed none himself . . . flew excelled Mr. Poe in power of analysis or patient application. He was . . . by turns a disciplinarian and a dreamer. . . . ‘ Every moment there comes across the darkness of his style a flash of that spirit which is not of earth.’ ”

This article on the poet also gave Longfellow’s letter to Editor Thompson. In this letter was: “What a melancholy death is that of Mr. Poe — a man so richly endowed with genius! I never knew him personally, but have always entertained a high appreciation [page 1535:] of his powers as a prose-writer and a poet. His prose is remarkably vigorous, direct and vet affluent; and his verse has a peculiar charm of melody, an atmosphere of true poetry about it, which is very winning. The harshness of his criticisms I have never attributed to anything but the irritation of a sensitive nature, chafed by some indefinite sense of wrong.” So wrote Henry W. Longfellow, the noblest, in character, of American poets, and of a critic who deeply appreciated but had not spared drastic scorings of this brother poet’s works. But this definate [[definite]] estimate of Poe — man and writer — forever shatters the theory that Longfellow characterized Poe by Hathaway, in “Kavanagh,” as was believed by Dr. Fr. von Spielhagen.

Of another order than this Longfellow letter to Editor John R Thompson, was the latter’s November 9, 1849, reply to the Poe-quests of Edward H. N. Patterson, as to their Stylus venture. John Reuben Thompson (born in 1823) was, in 1849, about twenty-six years old, and lacking his later life’s more accurate knowledge of Poe. Of him, in 1849, Thompson wrote, mostly by hear-say embellishments of the poet’s savage nerve-strictures, under which stress he was struggling the entire summer of 1848.(11) Thompson gave details of a carriage-search, about the poorer districts of Richmond, for Poe, occasioned by the former’s mother advising him of a stranger’s call, and another’s mention of Poe’s “excessive indulgence,” characterized by young Thompson as “a debauch,” who elsewhere mentioned Poe’s call on him “the next day . . . fully himself.” These last words gave Mr. [page 1536:] Whitty serious doubts as to Poe’s “excessive” indulgence noted, which would totally disable him “for days”; and also for making a “next clay” call “fully himself.” Mr. Thompson added: “Poe had spoken to me of your design with reference to the literary enterprise of which you speak. You were fortunate, I think, in not having embarked in it, for a more unreliable person than he could hardly be found. [As to Poe’s health, or lack of it, this was strictly true.] . . . His complete works will be brought out by the Rev. Dr. Griswold.”

The New York Tribune, October 9th, Poe-article by “Ludwig” had doubtlessly been sent by its writer to and read by Mr. Thompson; for letters had passed between the two editors as to Poe’s trunk and contents, he left at Swan Tavern, and which had already been sent to his Cousin Neilson Poe at Baltimore. However, Thompson — surviving this letter and other adverse Poe — comments when former was twenty-six — later wrote a lecture of more mature estimate of the poet and man Edgar Allan Poe, which lecture was lost. Of him, November, 1849, Southern Literary Messenger noted: “When in Richmond, he made the office of the ‘Messenger’ a place of frequent resort. [It was located at the corner of Franklin and Governor Streets and Capitol Square.] His conversation was always attractive, and at times very brilliant. Among modern authors his favorite was. Tennyson, and he delighted to recite from ‘The Princess’ the song ‘Tears, idle tears,’ a fragment of which

‘. . . . . . . . when unto dying eyes

The casement slowly grows a glimmering square,’ — [page 1537:]

he pronounced unsurpassed by any image expressed in writing.

In the far over-seas, Tennyson land, December 7, 1849, Critic, appeared:

“Deaths. Poe, at Baltimore, in the hospital, Edgar A. Poe, the American writer noticed in our pages.” Shortly after Poe’s death, Editor Thompson dined with N. P. Willis in New York City, where also Dr. Griswold was met. To the latter young Thompson wrote, December 21, 1849: “I have too long delayed sending to you the promised Memo of poor Poe. I fear what I now inclose will be of little value. Two letters of Cooke and a short statement relative to his connection with the Allans are all.”

The latter concerned the incident — of prior noting of Poe’s Scotch school-mistress and his own four years’ old — not “six,” as mentioned — invasion of her vegetable garden.

In a February 19, 1850, letter Dr. R. W. Griswold wrote to Editor John R. Thompson,(12) appears of our poet: “In the first place, of Poe. I was quite willing . . . so far as mere labor was concerned . . . to write a brief sketch of his life; but having determined to prepare . . . (some 50 or 10o pages . . .), I was anxious that Willis and Lowell should occupy the preliminary pages of these two volumes . . . published. . . . Willis promised a new introduction, but did not give it; Lowell a memoir, but sent me only those old paragraphs; and after some hesitation I suffered the volumes to go from my hands in the form . . . you received them. It had some influence upon my decision . . . that for the hasty observations I [page 1538:] ventured in The Tribune for the morning after P.’s death [and perpetuated in Dr. Griswold’s 1850 “Memoir” of Poe] I was denounced in many journals as a slanderer of the dead, uttering judgments 1 dared not express of the living. . . . There was no fit occasion to discuss P.’s personal character while he was alive. [Or any after his death.] You will bear me witness that 1 have since done no wrong to his genius.

At all times this was strictly true, for Dr. Griswold wisely knew that otherwise he would have summoned his own literary, critical judgments before the bar of posterity’s scholarship.] . , . I shall ere long print a life of Poe that his true friends will confess to be just, . . . and will satisfy the reasonable curiosity of the public respecting so extraordinary a character.”

This was in amplified treatment of the “Ludwig” Poe article of October 9th, 1849, Tribune print, and began “The Literati,” Volume III, of “Poe’s Works,” as edited by Dr. R. W. Griswold. His letter to Editor Thompson made many inquiries as to Poe writings, his trunk contents, and an appeal for information of his Richmond City interests. April 2, 1850, Mr. Thompson wrote Dr. Griswold: “I can scarcely express the mortification I felt, upon my return, at finding in the sheets of the forthcoming number of the Messenger the coarse abuse of yourself and Willis, which disfigured the article on Poe. . . . I ordered it suppressed at my expense, but being informed . . . it would delay the number unreasonably, [also because its surely seeming writer was fire-eating John M. Daniel, who was a dead shot] I was compelled to send it forth with my personal disclaimer by way [page 1539:] of amende honorable. I had indeed given the writer of the article a carte blanche . . . but I had not the faintest conception this freedom would have been abused. . . . I had no hand in the preparation of such vulgar and unmerited strictures. The sentiment of mortification was inspired also by the cruel treatment of poor Poe himself, and I felt this so keenly that I sent to Willis for The Home Journal an article, [signed, “A Southern Gentleman,” in March 30, 1850, issue] by an intimate friend . . . tending to . . . remove some of the nettles cast by my contributor on the poet’s grave. [page 1540:]

But storms were then in brewing that were soon to burst over the brilliant young editor of the Southern Literary Messenger. In a December 2, 1851, letter of John Reuben Thompson to Dr. Griswold,(13) appeared: “As I have written ‘Private’ at the top of this page, I may . . . say . . . the Messenger is almost ‘gone.’ I look into the future to see nothing but disaster; my affairs are so embarrassed that the sale of my library hangs over me like an impending doom, . . . my four years of hard labor finds me in debt. . . . I have followed the Will-o‘-the-wisp, literary fame, into the morasses . . . it has gone out, leaving me up to the armpits in mud. Because the Messenger is Southern and for no other reason in the world. God help us!”

Thus it was that Editor Thompson — who died in 1873 — obtained but a taste of Poe’s years of woes; and Thompson’s closing sentence was but an echo of Poe’s words on “George Balcombe,” whom its critic thought to be Judge Beverley Tucker. Of him, Poe wrote, in some notings of “Marginalia,” and repeated of another: “A long time ago . . . Edward C. Pinckney, of Baltimore, published an exquisite poem entitled ‘A Health.’ It was profoundly admired by the critical few, but had little circulation: this for no better reason than that the author was born too far South. [Poe never omitted quoting from“A Health” in his lectures.] I quote a few lines:

‘Affections are as thoughts to her,

The measures of her hours

Her feelings have the fragrancy,

The freshness of young flowers. [page 1541:]


To her the better elements

And kindlier stars have given

A form so fair, that like the air,

T is less of Earth than Heaven!’ ”

These words, “too far South” — notwithstanding Poe’s Boston birth — will also throw light over the then subconscious why Lowell and Poe could never have remained friends. For aside from the admirable characteristics of both gifted men, Poe very definitely declared, — “I am a Virginian!”

In an 1853 letter, written to J. Wood Davidson by John R. Thompson, appeared: “Two years ago I had a long conversation with Mr. Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning concerning Poe. The two poets, like yourself, had formed an ardent and just admiration of the author of ‘The Raven,’ and feel a strong desire to see his memory vindicated from moral aspersion.” Such expression must have been founded on Dr. Griswold’s “Memoir” of Poe which prefaced the 185o edited issue of the “Literati,” Vol. III, of “Poe’s Works.” This letter certainly indicated a change of heart and mind in Editor Thompson since his November, 1849, Messenger pages on Poe; also the letter then written concerning him to E. H. N. Patterson, of Oquawka, Illinois.

Coming through a John H. Ingram, February 10, 1876, letter to Robert Browning, are items of Poe in connection with Mr. and Mrs. Browning.(14) To them Mr. Ingram noted that his statements as to these Poe touches were made from a letter of the late Editor Thompson of the Southern Literary Messenger, a man of good character and correspondent of Tennyson. One [page 1542:] incident was Mr. Thompson’s 1853, Florence, Italy, talk with the Brownhlgs concerning their “strong desire to see Poe’s memory vindicated from moral aspersion.” Ingram stated that Bayard Taylor was the authority for the allusion to Poe’s introduction of Mrs. Browning’s works in America, although some of her poems were in “Graham’s for 1842-‘43.” Mr. Ingram added: “I have seen it stated that ‘The Raven’ is founded on ‘Lady Geraldine’s Courtship,’ not vice versa, as you hint. . . . That Poe ever said so . . . to Buchanan Read, or any one else, I do not believe, . . . receive cum grano salis anything about Poe from Americans, . . . Poe was too true a genius not to admire Mrs. Browning’s works: vide his critique on them and on Tennyson, [also] the ‘Dedication’ of Poe’s own, 1845, ‘Poems.’ ”

In a letter to Dr. Charles W. Kent, University of Virginia, from the banker-poet, E. Clarence Stedman, was written: “I well remember hearing of Poe’s death — after my sixteenth birthday — just a freshman at Yale, but I had read the poems and ‘Tales of the Arabesque,’ etc., and didn’t I preach Poe to all those fellows of the class of ‘53! Yes, marry, and by the same token I imitated him too: but little thought to be his editor half a century later,” with Dr. George Edward Woodberry.

By the direction of Poe’s last letter to Mrs. Clemm, she was busy at Fordham Cottage packing their belongings to be ready to return with him and make their home in Richmond, Virginia, when she was overwhelmed by the tidings of his death. Mrs, Rebecca Cromwell — of their landlord’s family — described [page 1543:] going over to the Cottage that morning. She said that Mrs. Clemm mentioned Poe’s intended marriage and he would have come for her, as he wrote in a letter she had from him the day before. She was overcome with grief, and Was sure he would not have died had she been near to “nurse him in his bad spell.” It seems, several months’ rent was due; but friends raised money for Mrs. Clemm to go to Baltimore; she later returned, and sold most of their few effects. From these [page 1544:] she gave Poe’s Bible, his rocking-chair and his clock to Mrs. Cromwell, is learned from her grandson, Mr. William H. Valentine, New York City. Her name, “Mrs. Rebecca Cromwell,” appears on the open-page picture of Poe’s Bible. He gave Poe’s Bible and rocking-chair to the Poe Fordham Cottage Memorial. Poe’s [page 1545:] clock, now owned by the family of Mr. Valentine’s brother Richard, was allowed by its owners to be photographed for a Poe tribute (of Librarian Alexander J. Wall, of New York Historical Society to these pages on the poet. Both Mrs. Roger G. [page 1546:] Lewis and Thomas O. Mabbott, M.A., New York City, have carefully turned all the leaves of the poet’s BIBLE, and were rewarded by finding a number of passages pencil-marked on their margins, by him. The LORD’S PRAYER appears of first importance in its ever predominating influence over the religious phase of Poe’s mind. Job vii, 16, seems to touch upon the continuous disillusions of the poet’s life, in: “I loathe it; I would not live alway: let me alone; for my days are vanity.” There are other marked passages: and to all, Mr. Mabbott has given his best literary attention.

In Dr. Henry Noble MacCracken’s address at the January 19, 1909, Poe Centenary Exercises of Bronx Society of Arts and Sciences, it appears that John Valentine bought, from Richard Corso,(15) “March 28, 1846,” this “one acre more or less” — Poe’s Fordham Cottage and its garden — “for a thousand dollars.” June, 1846, Poe had become his tenant. “Acting on good business principles, Valentine let the house for ten per cent of its cost, a hundred dollars a year.” Since 1866, when Valentine sold it, the property has belonged to John Berrian, Mr. Charles Carey and the present owner, M. Chauvet. “Mr. Corey [in 1883] once offered the house to the Park Department, on the condition that it be set up in Bronx Park. The offer was refused. . . . Certainly no other house in this city can boast of having sheltered a poet engaged in the composition of poems of such haunting melancholy beauty, and or enduring worth.”

In 1905, Fordham Cottage came into the possession of E. J. Chauvet, D.O.S. In May of that year, Albert [page 1547:] Frey, Esq., Fordham, and Dr. Appleton Morgan, President of the New York City Shakespeare Society, made a careful investigation visit through Poe Cottage [page 1548:] with the idea of its preservation, by this society, from threatened destruction by the widening of historic Kingsbridge Road. Dr. Cliauvet was written to at once by Dr. Morgan, who also began energetic action, in the Shakespeare Society and otherwise, that resulted in an autumn lease for the public benefit, with a final ownership in view, when $8000 — its price — could be obtained; also was to be obtained a suitable locality for Poe’s Fordham Cottage. The triangle dumping-ground opposite presented such a future promise. Dr. Morgan led financial and political forces of far and near influence to active measures for its permanent use as POE PARK. A “Bill” for such effect was drafted by Dr. Morgan, passed by the Legislature, signed by Governor Morton, endorsed by the Park Commission and approved by Mayor Strong. Dr. Morgan oracle mention of the zealous efforts of his Society and courtesies of Dr. Chauvet throughout these transactions, which then included moving the Cottage seventeen feet back of its site of Poe’s time, for the widening of the Kingshridge Road. Under continuous attacks, political New York finally surrendered by a May 22, 1906, letter to


DEAR SIR: I beg to inform you that the so-called Poe Park Bill has been approved by the Governor and is now chapter 537 of the Laws of 1906.

Very respectfully,


Private Secretary.

Poe’s Cottage was removed across the road to POE PARK by New York State recognition, and there the [page 1549:] poet’s Fordham home has been held under special charge of the Bronx Society of Arts and Sciences, whose early appointed chairman, of this Poe Memorial to America’s “finest lyric artist,” was Mrs. Archie C. Fisk; and its Secretary was Mrs. W. H. Shaw, of rare ability and devotion to its service.

In Dr. Morgan’s September 22, 1905, address at a dinner in Poe Cottage appeared: “The Cottage at Fordham where he worked and starved must be moved or it will be cut in two.” Then followed some definite, forceful statements of truths as to Poe the man; noting American aid in erecting statues to the world’s Shakespeare, Shelley, Scott, Tennyson, Burns, Goethe — “even Carlyle who loved us not,” while “utterly [page 1550:] neglecting the grandest, most unique and sweetest of our own poets. The mournful story of his life was kept open for patronizing apologies for his so-called ‘ Mis-spent life.’ Why, gentlemen, if Edgar Allan Poe while writing his immortal verse and prose, upon an empty stomach, at times kept soul and body together with a glass of brandy, then I thank God for that glass of brandy! Even if Poe died that way, he had royal precedents in Shakespeare and Addison. No one is piling mud on their memories. We are an American Shakespeare Society, and Edgar Allan Poe is our American Shakespeare.”(16)

Therefore, at his Cottage at Fordham did Americans, — “Hail the transcendental genius of Edgar A. Poe,”(17) January 19, 1909, Centenary of the poet’s Boston, Mass., birth. By Arthur A. Stoughton Esq., Fordham Cottage Memorial was presented to the city of New York, and to be held under the fostering care of Bronx Society of Arts and Sciences. Then, in these “Centenary Exercises,” followed the reading of John Henry Boner’s poem, “Poe’s Cottage at Fordham,” and the unveiling of Edmund T. Quinn’s bronze “Bust of Poe.” There, the poet’s soul-satisfaction must have stood at “Attention!” when a “National Salute was fired by the Second Battery Field Artillery, National Guards of New York, under Captain Landford F. Sherry.” Thus Poe’s tiny Cottage at Fordham became for all time a gateway — wicket though it he — still the Literary Gateway to our Nation.

It was Monday, October 9, 1849, — the day of Poe’s funeral, — that Mrs. Clemm heard of her great loss. at once she wrote to Willis: “I have this morning [page 1551:] heard of the death of my darling Eddie, . . . Can you give me . . . particulars? . . . Oh! do not desert your poor friend in this bitter affliction. . . . Ask Mr. [Griswold] to come, as I must deliver a message to him from my poor Eddie. . . . I need not ask you . . . to speak well of him. I know you will. But say what an affectionate son he was to me, his poor desolate mother.”

This fragment of anguish Mr. Willis quoted in his [page 1552:] notice of the “Death of Edgar Allan Poe,” printed in Saturday, October 13, 1849, date of the Home Journal. N. P. Willis forcefully combated some statements, adverse to Poe, made in Dr. Griswold’s October 9th, New York Tribune article, signed “Ludwig,” and unveiled the identity of its writer. Mr. Willis concluded his kindly, gracious words of Poe with this no less kindly appeal for Mrs. Clemm: “If any, far or near, will send to us what may aid and cheer her, through the remainder of her life, we will joyfully place it in her hands.”

November 25th, James R. Lowell wrote his friend Charles E. Briggs, that Willis must have a “mean idea” of the writer if he thought what Poe said would bear upon donor’s remittance “to poor Mrs. Clemm.” This “generous donation” was “five dollars,” with the request that “it should be anonymous.”

At Lowell, Mass., March 9, 1850, Mrs. Clemm, in some way having heard of Lowell’s feeling against Poe, was moved to write Lowell a few facts concerning Poe’s nervous-congestion malady and its effects. In her letter(18) was:

DEAR SIR. . . . How . . . I wish I could see you! how quickly I could remove your wrong impression of my darling Eddie! The day you saw him . . . he was not himself. . . . Oh, if you only knew his bitter sorrow when I told him how unlike himself he was while you were there, . . . he always felt . . . anxious to possess your approbation. If he spoke unkindly of you . . . rely on it, it was when he did not know of what he was talking. . . .

Most respectfully,

MARIA CLEMM. [page 1553:]

That black Monday — October 8, 1849 — for Mrs. Clemm, she wrote Mrs. Richmond: “Annie, my Eddy is dead. He died in Baltimore yesterday. . . . My senses will leave me. . . . I will write the moment I hear the particulars. . . . Write and advise me what to do.” Mrs. Clemm was so bewildered with her troubles that she dated her Poe-quest letter to Neilson Poe (of Baltimore) “October 9, 1845,” instead of 1849. In her letter was:

DEAR NEILSON, — I have heard this moment of the death of my dear son Edgar — I cannot believe it, . . . have written to you to . . . ascertain the fact and particulars. . . . If it is true, God have mercy on me, for he was the last I had to cling to and love, . . . write the instant you receive this, and relieve this dreadful uncertainty — My mind is prepared to bear all — conceal nothing from me.

Your afflicted friend,


In Mr, Poe’s immediate answer,(19) of October 11th, was:

MY DEAR MADAM, — I would to God I could console you with the information that your dear son . . . is still among the living. . . . He died on Sunday morning, about 5 o’clock, at the Washington Medical College, where he had been . . . since Wednesday. . . . It appears — Wednesday, he was seen & recognized at one of the places of election [Italics not in original print, but these mark and point to the cause of Poe’s death] in the old town, and that his condition was such as to render it necessary to send him to the College, where he was tenderly nursed until . . . his death. As soon as I heard that he was at the College, I went over, but his physicians did not think it advisable that I should see him, as he was [page 1554:] very excitable. The neat day I called & sent him changes of linen, &c., and was gratified to learn that he was much better, & I was never so much shocked, . . . as when, on Sunday morning, notice was sent to me that he was dead. Mr. Herring & myself . . . took . . . steps for his funeral, which took place on Monday afternoon at four o’clock. He lies alongside his ancestors in the Presbyterian burying ground on Green Street. . . . The body was followed to the grave by Mr. Herring, Dr. Snodgrass, Mr. Z. Collins Lee . . . and myself. The service was performed by the Rev. Wm. T. D. Clemm. . . . Edgar has seen so much of sorrow . . . that, to him, the change can scarcely be . . . a misfortune. . . . I sliall be glad, . . . to hear from you, & to alleviate, in every way in my power, the sorrows [to] which this dispensation may expose yon. . . . My wife unites with me in expression of sympathy.

Perhaps no more pathetic Poe-record exists than that noted by kindly Mr. Kennedy (who never understood Poe’s physical disability to withstand stimulants) in his diary, at date of October 10, 1849:

On Sunday last Edgar A. Poe died in town here at the hospital from the effects of a debauch . . . Poor Poe! he was an original and exquisite poet, and one of the best prose writers in this country. His works are amongst the very best of their kind. His taste was replete with classical flavor, and he wrote in the spirit of an old Greek philosopher. . . . He always remembered my kindness with gratitude, as his many letters to me testify.”

In 1863 Mrs. Mary Gove Nichols(20) wrote of her friend the poet: “Soon after Poe’s death, I met the aged mother on Broadway. She seized me with both hands, regardless of the passers by. ‘My Eddie is [page 1555:] dead,’ she sobbed, hardly able to speak. ‘He is gone — gone, and left his poor Muddie all alone.’ And then she thought of his fame, and she clung to me, speaking with pathetic and prayerful earnestness. ‘You will take care of his fame,’ said she; ‘you will not let them he about him. Tell the truth of my Eddie. Oh, tell the truth — tell the world how great and good he was. They will defame him — I know they will. They are wicked and envious;’ . . . She pressed my hands convulsively. ‘ Say that you will take my Eddie’s part,’ said she, almost wildly.” Mrs. Clemm was then distracted by the “Ludwig” Poe-article in October 9th New York Tribune, and its writer was unknown to her at that time. But aside from Mr. Greeley’s influence, feared by her, she was comforted by Mrs. Gove’s assurance of justice to the lost one so beloved and bitterly lamented by Mrs. Clemm.

Wednesday, October 10th, Poe’s faithful friend, practical, Mrs. Richmond, answered Mrs. Clemm’s letter of the 8th. Briefed, Mrs. Richmond’s letter read:

Oh my . . . darling, darling mother, oh, what shall I say to you . . . your letter has this moment reached me, but I had seen a notice of his death, . . . in the paper. . . . I could not believe it, until I got your letter. . . . I will pray for you, and for myself, that I may be able to comfort you. Mr. R. begs that you will come on here, as soon as you can, and stay with us as long as you please — do, dear mother, gather up all his papers and books, and take them and come to your own Annie who will do everything in her power to make you comfortable . . . do not deny me this privilege, . . . God in Heaven bless and sustain you, and bring you safely to your own


ANNIE. [page 1556:]

In Mrs. Clemm’s Saturday, October 13th, answer(21) to the foregoing letter was:

MY OWN DEAREST ANNIE, — I am not deceived in you. You still wish your poor desolate friend to come to you. . . . I have written to poor Elmira, [Mrs. Shelton] and have to wait for her answer. They are already making arrangements to publish the works of my darling lost one. I have been waited on by several gentlemen, and have finally arranged with Mr. Griswold to arrange and bring them out, and he wishes it done immediately. Mr. Willis is to share with him this labor of love. They say that I am to have the entire proceeds, so you see, Annie, I will not be entirely destitute. I have had many letters of condolence, and one which has, indeed, comforted me. Neilson Poe, of Baltimore, . . . says he [the poet] died in the Washington Medical College, not the Hospital, and of congestion of the brain, and not of what the vile, vile papers accuse him. . . . Severe excitement (and no doubt some imprudence) brought this on; he never had one interval of reason. . . . Never, oh, never, will I see those dear lovely eyes. I feel so desolate, so wretched, so friendless and alone. . . . I have a beautiful letter from General Morris; he did, indeed, love him. He has many friends, . . . I have to go out home — to his home today to arrange his papers.

At “Richmond, Oct. 11th, 1849,” Mrs. Shelton wrote Mrs. Clemm. The briefed contents of this letter,(22) not already quoted, are:

Oh! how shall I address you, my dear, and deeply afflicted friend . . . ? I have no doubt, ere this, you have heard of the death of our dear Edgar! yes, he was the dearest object on earth to me; and, well assured am I, that he was the pride of your heart. I have not been able to get any . . . particulars of his sickness & death, except an extract from the Baltimore Sun, which said that [page 1557:] he died on Sunday, the 7th of this month, with congestion of the brain, after an illness of 7 days. . . . The pleasure I anticipated on his return with you, dear friend! to Richmond, was too great, ever to have been realized, and should teach me the folly of expecting bliss on earth. . . . I wrote to you a few weeks ago; . . . It was through the request of my clearest Eddy that I did so ; and when I told him I had written to you, his joy & delight were inexpressible . . . let me hear from you, as I shall be anxious about you, . . . until I do: Farewell, my stricken friend! and may an All-Wise & Merciful God sustain and comfort us under this heart-breaking dispensation, is the fervent & hourly prayer of your Afflicted and sympathizing friend, . . .

Do let me hear from you as quickly as possible — Direct to Mrs. Elmira Shelton —

Care of A. L. Royster, . . .

Whatever of Mrs. Clemm’s attitude toward Dr. Griswold, his treatment of her was certainly solicitously cordial until he obtained from her a power of attorney for his legal publication of Poe’s works. Also, from her, and through the influence of her name and needs, from others, all possible of Poe-material. For what she obtained, and turned over to Dr. Griswold, it is said that he gave her a small sum.

The paper, written by Dr. Griswold, authorizing him to edit Poe’s Works was duly signed by Mrs. Clemm, and it appears in Dr. Griswold’s editions of them, also in some other Poe prints. It noted the poet’s request for Dr. Griswold to edit the works, and for Mr. Willis to write the life sketch. Poe wrote this request at Fordham Cottage June 29, 1849, just prior to his departure for Richmond, Virginia. [page 1558:]

In the paper signed by Mrs. Clemm also appeared:(23) “In this edition of my son’s works, which is published for my benefit, [foregoing italics are not in the original print] it is a great pleasure to me to thank Mr. Griswold and Mr. Willis,” etc. The editor’s Poe “Memoir,” a very different document from the poet’s life sketch by Willis, replaced the latter, most unfortunately, in J. S. Redfield’s 1850 Edition of “Poe’s Works” prepared by Dr. Griswold. In Mrs. Clemm’s letter, dated “Lowell, Feb. 17th, 1851,” to Washington Poe, she wrote: “The publisher of my poor Eddie’s works can only for the present allow me as many copies . . . as I choose to dispose of among my friends, . . . delicacy of feeling prevents me from availing myself of this privilege, [a questionable one, then especially so, as clamped with the editor’s Poe “Memoir”] except through the kindness of a few friends who have disposed of some . . . for me.” Mrs. Clemm sought influence for their sales; noted, “The retail price is $3.75, for the three volumes, but I will only ask 3 dollars, for the set . . . I am most desirous of leaving this place as the climate does not agree with me, but have not the means of doing so.” The Poe “Memoir” of Vol. III., “Literati,” 1850, made its sales a scourge to Mrs. Clemm’s efforts on that score; and, otherwise, but one known record appears of her deriving any financial returns from the excellent sales of “Poe Works” published by Redfield as edited by Dr. Griswold. While it is said they were declined issue, by many leading publishers, and that Dr. Griswold “persuaded” J. S. Redfield, New York, to venture on two volumes in early 1850 — “these obtaining [page 1559:] fair sales,” the third volume was added; then the fourth, which completed the third edition in 1853.

Of J. S. Redfield’s publishing house, definite records(24) are, — that Poe’s works were this publisher’s “most important” issues, and their sales “reached about fifteen hundred sets every year.” According to William Gowans’ Catalogues, their sale prices were from $3.75 to $9.00 per set. Mr. Redfield elsewhere stated “Griswold never received a cent for his labors,” and also added, “he set down naught in malice.” It would be interesting to know who did receive the annual profits on those “fifteen hundred” sets sold “every year” of Poe’s works. Certainly not Mrs. Clemm, or she would hardly have led the wandering, impoverished life she did, so pathetically filled with continuous appeals to Poe’s friends for financial aid for her simple daily needs.

Notwithstanding Dr. Griswold’s acceptance of Poe’s trust, as his literary executor, in the way of “an honor,” as recorded in Dr. Griswold’s letter that Miss Susan A. Talley (later Mrs. Weiss) saw, and heard read by Poe in September, 1849, at Richmond, after the poet’s death, Dr. Griswold, at New York, October 25th following, wrote to James Russell Lowell in this connection: “Poe was not my friend. I was not his and he had no right to devolve upon me this duty of editing his works. He did so, . . . I could not well refuse . . . with the wishes of his friends here. . . . It is a difficult task, but I shall execute it as well as I can, . . . If you will revise your Memoir and continue it down to the death of Poe, it will be of very great advantage to Mrs. Clemm, who is to receive all [page 1560:] the profits which are not retained by the bookseller. My services will be altogether gratuitous. [Aside from Poe’s wish that N. P. Willis should write the “Memoir” for his works, the foregoing letter of Dr. Griswold to Lowell would seem an unusual mixture of motives when its writer added:] I wrote a very hasty notice of Poe for the Tribune, the night of his death. A part of it is quoted in the last Home Journal. Though badly done, I think it is . . . just.” Why then was this two or more column Poe-article signed “Ludwig,” instead of by Dr. Griswold’s own name? Because the Home Journal, Saturday, October 13, 1849, unveiled “its writer” as Dr. R. W. Griswold, probably explains why Editor Willis did not write the “Memoir” for the J. S. Redfield’s issue of Poe’s works, edited by Dr. Griswold. In harsh temerity, the “Ludwig” Tribune article was essentially but the forecast of the “Memoir” of Poe, in Volume III of this 1850, Redfield edition of the poet’s works; and, unfortunately, their many reprints in foreign lands as well as our own. With some assurance, about this time, Dr. Griswold noted his non-use of Poe’s “cruder” efforts; and to some one he included, curiously enough, among such “efforts” as “without humour,” . . . “The Ghost of a Grey Tadpole” as full of grim humor on the indomitable nerve-wreckage of its writer, and under which distress this superb self-allegory escaped with its crudities from Poe’s pen and into print before his recovery could revise it.

When Mrs. Whitman had mentioned Mrs. Clemm, as using energetic measures for placing Poe-material in Dr. Griswold’s possession, to him, in the letter protest [page 1561:] Mrs. Whitman wrote regarding his harsh “Ludwig” article, he, at Philadelphia, December 17, 1849, replied to her on this score:(25)

I wrote, as you suppose, the notice of P(oe) — in the Tribune — but very hastily. I was not his friend, nor was he mine, as I remember to have told you, . . . I undertook to edit his writings to oblige Mrs. Clemm, and they will soon be published in two thick volumes, of which a copy shall be sent to you. . . . I should not have believed if I had heard, that you spoke of Poe unkindly. . . . I do not wish, . . . to involve myself . . . but I cannot refrain from begging you to be very careful what you say to, or write to Mrs. Clemm, who is not your friend, nor anybody’s friend, and who has no element of goodness or kindness in her nature — but whose whole heart and understanding are full of malice and wickedness. I confide in you these sentences, for your sake only — for Mrs. Clemm appears to be a very warm friend to me. Pray destroy this note or, . . . act cautiously, till I may justify it in conversation with you.

I was told that all your letters to Poe had been sent back to you since his death. It seemed this is not true. When his correspondence . . . was placed in my hands, I asked for your letters, [this was true] judging from intimations I heard, that they had been preserved, [Mrs. Clemm had destroyed them, as she had promised Poe she would do so] and wishing myself to forward them to you. . . .

I am yours very sincerely,


Perhaps Mrs. Clemm’s “wickedness” lurked in what the late John H. Ingram noted in 1909: “Mrs. Clernm”(26) writing to a relative after the poet’s death, declared that, in accordance With Edgar’s wish, she had destroyed hundreds of letters written to him [page 1562:] by literary women, and in another letter she remarked that Griswold had offered her a large sum of money for a certain literary lady’s correspondence with Edgar, but fearing poverty might at some future time induce her to give up the letters she had destroyed them.”

This reference to Dr. Griswold seems to indicate a strong reason for his making a breach between Mrs. Clemm — who evidently then “did n’t tell” — and Mrs. Whitman, whose quick nits fathomed the purpose of this affair. Mrs. Clemm’s action on such letters is further affirmed by her “Milford, Dec. 8th, 152 “letter to Dr. Thomas Holley Chivers, wherein appeared:(27) “When I heard of my Eddie’s death, I was at Fordham, and I then acted as I well knew he would have wished me to do. I destroyed all the letters he had ever received from his female friends, and many others of a private nature. Griswold told me he must see some of his correspondence, and I gave them to him with the understanding that he was to return them to me. Yours were among them. I have never been able to get them from him. Do you not think, dear sir, that God will punish him, for all the falsehoods he has told of my beloved Eddie?” Mrs. Clemm prior noted: “When that hateful and untrue Biography first appeared, I nearly sunk under it; I was confined to bed for a long time with a nervous fever.”

Mrs. Whitman’s own conscience, concerning her denying Poe the mere justice of the “one word” he was entitled to, and pleaded for — that she had not spoken ill of him, or approved it in others — moved her to print, the November after his October 7th death, [page 1563:] her contribution in verses that were preceded by these lines from his own “Scenes from Politian”:

It is a phantom voice:

Again! — again! how solemnly it falls

Into my heart of hearts! ”

The third stanza is given of Mrs. Whitman’s fourteen stanzas, that were entitled “The Phantom Voice”:

“Till the burden of remembrance weighs

Like lead upon my heart,

And the shadow, on my soul that sleeps,

Will never more depart.”

After settling her Fordham Cottage affairs Mrs. Clemm spent a week or two with Mr. and Mrs. S. D. Lewis, in Brooklyn; then a few weeks with Mrs. Shew, at 51 West 10th Street, New York City; there she thanked Henry B. Hirst for his Philadelphia Courier, October 10th, prompt defense of Poe against the “Ludwig,” October 9th, Tribune article’s misstatements. However, November 1, 1849, found Mrs. Clemm with the poet’s “Annie” — Mrs. Charles Richmond — at Lowell, Mass. Then and there Mrs. Clemm wrote Mr. Neilson Poe, Baltimore, to forward Poe’s trunk and its papers (which had been sent from Swan Tavern, Richmond, to his Baltimore cousin by Editor John R. Thompson) to Dr, Griswold. With some bitterness Mrs. Clemm scored Rosalie for her claim to a share of profits in the coming edition of the poet’s works, and noted herself as “with the kindest friends, who do all in their power to comfort me.” November 1, 1849, Mr. Neilson Poe wrote(28) Dr. Griswold of Poe’s trunk: “I have opened his trunk and find it to contain [page 1564:] very few manuscripts of value. The chief of them is a lecture upon the poetic principle and some paragraphs . . . for some literary journal. There are, however, a number of books, his own works, which are full of corrections by his own hand. These ought, undoubtedly, to be placed in your hands.”

Perhaps no more pathetic personality of the poet exists than this trunk, into which Poe’s own fevered hands (from the brain congestion closing in upon him) placed his self-revised prints for another, New York edition of his works, and the manuscript of his “Poetic Principle” lecture. Upon its repeated delivery hung Editor Poe’s brightest prospects for [page 1565:] the financial launching of his long-cherished Stylus. And thus — holding documents of vital importance for his New York attention — this well-worn, all-eloquent craft of Poe’s future hopes and fears was forgotten in its moorings at Swan Tavern, by its all but subconscious master when he left Richmond, September 27, 1849. Mr. James H. Whitty has followed clues of this trunk for years, and recently placed it, through the kindness of Mrs. Archer Jones, in The Edgar Allan Poe Shrine, at Richmond, Virginia.

Several records note these books as Lorimer Graham’s copies of Poe’s “Tales” and “Poems,” Bishop [page 1566:] John Fletcher Hurst’s copy of “Eureka” and other items that were said to be “sold with Dr. Griswold’s library.” As to his “altogether gratuitous” services in editing Poe’s works “to oblige Mrs. Clemm,” September 1, 1851, it seemed needful for her to make a letter-quest for Mrs. Whitman’s influence with her friends to buy copies (from this letter-writer) of her “darling Eddie’s books”; again Mrs. Clemm noted that the “publisher only allows me for the present as many copies as I choose to dispose of, but owing to . . . [page 1567:] feeling (on account of that hateful memoir), I can only avail myself of this privilege through the kindness of friends.” Because Mrs. Clemm remained pitifully poor to the end of her days — February 16, 1871 — while Poe’s works held selling records of “fifteen hundred sets every year,” at “3.75 to $9.00 per set,” this, “for the present . . . privilege “seemed as fixed as it was questionable. Concerning Dr. Griswold’s “labor of love,” which Mrs. Clemm thought his “Memoir of Poe” was to be, she was both distressed and indignant by its print issue in the “Literati,” Volume III, of J. S. Redfield, New York, 1850, date. For Poe, she was broken-hearted, and for herself, she then realized — despite all her hard work for it, and promises given — that her hoped-for small independence was a shattered dream. Perhaps the power of attorney for issue she gave the editor proved a lion in her way to this reason able goal. That she ever-after referred to the writer of this “Memoir” of Poe as “that villain” is of several records.

Mrs. Clemm’s September 1, 1851, letter to Mrs. Whitman(29) closed with: “How much I would like to become acquainted with you, for my dear Eddie did love you so very dearly.” Poe’s letters and lines to Mrs. Whitman, inspired by such expression of him as he read in her “Arcturus” by these words:

“I seem

To lie entranced as in some wondrous dream, —

All earthly joys forgot, — all earthly fear,

Purged in the light of thy resplendent sphere:”

would seem to make certain that, for the time being, they were mutually and ardently in love with each [page 1568:] other. However, both of them at that time needed physician’s and nurse’s attention, which neither realized, as this stern fact was seen by Mrs. Whitman’s mother and Mr. Pabodie’s clearer vision of actualities. Therefore Mrs. Whitman’s experience with her practical mother and sister, in connection with Poe, made her cautious in her answer to Mrs. Clemm’s closing words in this reply: “Had I a home of my own, how earnestly I should wish to have you with me — to hear you speak of him whose memory is so dearly cherished by us.”

September, 1850, Mrs. Clemm received many letters of sympathy on issue of the “Memoir” of Poe in Vol. III, by J. S. Redfield. Of one, she then wrote: “I have received a kind letter from that noble fellow, Graham, telling me to remain quiet, that he has a host of my Eddie’s friends prepared to do him justice, and that he intends to devote nearly half of the December number to the memory and defence of my injured Eddie.”

This was, perhaps, conscience tribute for Graham’s inconsiderate treatment of his able living editor. Yet this time Mr. Graham — then at odds with Dr. Griswold — was true to his word to Mrs. Clemm, and with such vital force as to trail this path of truth for many another, in the poet’s defense. Meanwhile practical, warm-hearted “Annie” wrote Mrs. Clemm:


MY DARLING MOTHER: Your precious letter has this moment reached me, . . . thank Heaven . . . your dear society this winter will be mine . . . will you not bring all of our darling precious Eddie’s papers with you, all that you do not have to give tip to the publishers, and his [page 1569:] printed works too? . . . If you will get a trunk and put them all in, and bring them on, it shall be no expense to you . . . for everything he has written, is so dear to me, . . . is it possible, that he will never write to me again? . . . I am so thankful to see those kind notices of him, . . . it is so cruel, for those who envied him . . . living, to speak so harshly of him now that he has gone. [Just here the conscience shadow of Mr. Richmond (for listening to N2rs. Jane E. Locke’s idle gossip about Poe) seems to hover over Annie’s words, and both Mr. and Mrs. Richmond had read the “Ludwig” Tribune article and doubted the writer’s justice to his future treatment of Poe.] . . . Do write me . . . so I can meet you at the cars, mother dear, — I have a little sum, laid aside for you, — shall I keep it, until you conic, or shall I send it to you in a letter? . . . I have a little room all ready for you where you can have a fire all to yourself, . . . do not part with anything you wish to keep, . . . Mr. R. [ichmond] sends his kindest love to you, . . . Heaven bless you.

Your own loving and faithful


P.S. If you have any letters of Mrs. Locke’s . . . do not destroy them, but be sure and bring them with you for a very particular reason, that I will give, when I see you. . . .

This urgency as to Poe’s papers, Mrs. Locke’s letters, etc., seems to have come from Mr. Richmond’s practical, business, common-sense view of the entire situation. To Mrs. Richmond’s glowing letter Mrs Clemm replied, October 17th, that she had all the particulars of Poe’s death; that she was very busy looking over his papers with Mr. Griswold and “he must have all until the work is published. He thinks I will realize from two to three thousand dollars [page 1570:] from the sale of these books. [This was the very least she should have realized] . . . there is so much sympathy and good feeling, except by a few low curious minds.” Mrs. Clemm noted her finding a lock of Poe’s hair, taken from his head, after death, and sent to her; a letter received from “poor, dear Elmira”; and of Dr. Griswold’s editing Poe’s works was added: “Those gentlemen . . . say I will have a very comfortable income from them.” Foregoing statements and following facts prove that this reasonable expectation failed her, and for no good reason.

From the late John H. Ingram it comes that Mrs. Shew-Houghton did fear adverse treatment of the poet by Dr. Griswold, and tried without success to compensate this writer of the Redfield, 1850, print of Poe “Memoir” for its suppression. It was said that Mrs. Houghton owed to this action, on her part, the relegation to Poe’s “youthful poems” his verses “To M. L. S.” — Marie Louise Shew — written in 1847, which appeared in Redfield’s 1850 issue of Poe’s “Poems.”

Dr. Griswold’s edition of Poe’s “Works” was speedily copyrighted in 1849 by J. S. Redfield, instead of Mrs. Clemm — who should have held the copyright. Two volumes — “Tales” and “Poems” — first appeared, the third, or “Literati,” volume next, in 1850, and the last, or fourth volume, was issued in 1856. Volume III was hedged in with the thorny, amplified “Ludwig” “Memoir” of the poet.

In volume I appeared a notice “TO THE READER” that Mrs. Clemm willingly signed in 1849. Its briefed noting reads: [page 1571:]

The late EDGAR ALLAN POE, . . . the husband of my only daughter, the son of my eldest brother, and more than a son to myself, in his long continued and affectionate observance of every duty to me, — under an impression that he might be called suddenly from the world, wrote (. . . on the 29th of June, 1849) requests that the Rev. Rufus W. Griswold should act as his literary Executor, and superintend the publication of his works; — and that N. P. Willis, Esq., should write such observations upon his life and character, as he might deem suitable to address to thinking men, in vindication of his memory.

These requests he made . . . with confidence that they would be fulfilled, from his knowledge of these gentlemen; [Dr. Griswold’s drafting of this document strongly appears in what follows] and he many times expressed . . . his respect for the literary judgment and integrity of Mr. Griswold, with whom his personal relations, on account of some unhappy misunderstanding, had for years been interrupted.

In this edition of my son’s works, which is published for my benefit, [italics not in the original print] it is a great pleasure to me to thank Mr. Griswold and Mr. Willis for their prompt fulfillment of the wishes of the dying poet, in labors which demanded much time and attention, and which they have performed without any other recompense than the happiness which rewards acts of duty and kindness. I add to these expressions of gratitude to them, my acknowledgments to J. R. Lowell, Esq., for his notices of Mr. Poe’s genius and writings which are here published.


Lowell’s “Life Sketch of Poe” (Graham’s, February, 1845, issue), and N. P. Willis’ “Death of Edgar A. Poe” (of Saturday, October 13th, 1849, Home Journal print), followed this “To the Reader” notice [page 1572:] signed (but not likely written) by Mrs. Clemm, in Volume I. In Volume III, Dr. Griswold paid his cutting respects to Mr. Graham’s and Editor John Neal’s later defense of Poe’s memory on its blighting way from the “Ludwig” Tribune print to the “Memoir” of this Volume III “Literati’s” Preface. Graham’s, March, 1850, dated its editor’s Open Letter to Willis in defense of Poe. John Neal’s review of Redfield’s 1850 issue of the two Poe volumes was in April 23, 1850, Portland Daily Advertiser. On page 362 of his “Wandering Recollections,” John Neal said, “I have always been fighting other people’s battles ever since I can remember.” This perhaps helped his firm defense of Poe.

For errors, as to birth-date and some other personal items Poe himself gave to Dr. Griswold, he is not to blame beyond laxity in the duty of every biographer as to exhaustive investigation; and especially when the writer disapproves of his subject. Poe could not be thought astray in naming Dr. Griswold — one of the most popular and successful American biographical editors of their day — as his literary executor. But for him to take upon himself to sustain in permanent form of “Memoir” his October 9, 1849, “Ludwig” Poe-article in the New York Tribune (as was admitted such purpose in Dr. Griswold’s prior noted February 19, 1850, letter to John R. Thompson), this “Memoir” substitution for the life sketch Poe requested from Mr. Willis, and on strong grounds, was more than a crowning misfortune to the memories of both Dr. R. W. Griswold and Edgar Allan Poe.

April 29, 1850, ‘Mrs. Clemm wrote Dr. Griswold: [page 1573:]

Your letter mentions if I had . . . poor Eddie’s Lectures you could dispose of them for me. I wrote Mr, Neilson Poe relative to my dear son’s trunk . . . he stated it had been sent to you at your request and for Miss Poe. . . . Let me know if there is any truth in it, . .’ . he so good as to inclose the MS. left with Mrs. Lewis. . . . [” Literati of New York,”] They have been published in Godey’s, you can refer to that Mag.

Yours respectfully,


August 12, 1850, Dr. Griswold wrote James T. Fields of Boston: “I am doing Poe’s third volume . . . the ‘criticisms’ he called them . . . they are very remarkable, and a few. . . . Headley, Mathews, Mrs. Ellet and some others, truly refreshing, as you will see. Peace to his Manes!” Of this Volume III — including the drastic Poe “Memoir” — Dr. Griswold, September 25, deplored (to James T. Fields) attacks on its writer, and stated, that in the “Preface” he was compelled to make marked expression, by the assaults of Graham and Neal.

Notwithstanding this drastic Poe “Memoir,” by Dr. Griswold, he continued — from 1845 to his death at his New York home, 22 West 23rd Street, in 1857 — in letter touch with Mr. John P. Kennedy, of Baltimore, who promised copies of his “interesting Poe letters.”(30) They were not sent until after February, 1853 ; then Dr. Griswold wrote: “Bohn, of London, has written me about a new and complete edition of the works of Poe. I think I shall prepare one, . . . enlarging and improving the Memoir for the New York edition.” This letter closed by calling the attention of Mr. Kennedy to his promised copies of [page 1574:] Poe’s letters. The London, 1853, print quest of “Poe’s Works” points to the fact that they were in foreign as well as in homeland demand on their own merits, and to the financial advantage of some persons that could not have included Mrs. Clemm.

Friday, September 20, 1850, found Mrs. S. D. Lewis just possessed of the “Memoir-‘Literati,’ Volume III, of Poe’s Works,” edited by Dr. Griswold. She promptly forgot Poe and his strenuous efforts in revising and reviewings of her mediocrities, in her letter, of foregoing date, to her “Dear Doctor.” Veering to the worldly favor of his editorial influence, she wrote to him of this volume, Poe and Mrs. Clemm

It is got up in a very readable style, and the able manner of its editorship must give satisfaction to friends and foes. . . . Nothing has ever given me so much insight into Mr. Poe’s real character as his letters to you, . . . in this third vol. . . . I have ceased to correspond with Mrs. C. on account of her finding so much fault, . . . and those articles of G.’s and N.’s. [Graham’s and Neal’s] I cannot endure ingratitude. T have felt and do feel that you have performed a noble and disinterested part towards Mr. Poe in the editing of his works. . . .

Yours ever sincerely,


P.S. As soon as I can get time I will read “The Literati” . . . and write out my impressions, and give some account of Mr. P. and his family, as I knew them.

At Portland, Maine, November 3, 1875, after twenty-six years’ consideration of all sides of the subject, Editor John Neal wrote Judge Neilson Poe:(31) “Edgar Allan Poe was a wonderful man. he has never [page 1575:] had justice done him, . . . after all the abominable calumnies that have been circulated against him abroad and at home, he stands higher today in the estimation of hundreds of poets, than he ever did while on earth.”

Without comments Mrs. Lewis’ foregoing letter marks the quality of her gratitude and loyalty to Poe, also her later lack of loyalty to Dr. Griswold himself when his services slackened under his own troubles directed by his tool — Mrs. Ellet — used against Poe. For Mrs. Lewis is credited with saying that Mrs. Ellet “goaded Griswold to his death.”

As of prior mention, Poe’s “Acrostic-Enigma” attention (printed in March, 1848, date of Sartain’s Magazine) to Mrs. Lewis did not please that lady in revealing her name as “Sarah Anna Lewis,” as she preferred her own, more romantic first name Estelle. At Brooklyn, September 3, 1849, Mr. Lewis wrote Dr. Griswold:(32) “Mrs. L’s baptismal name is Estelle Anna. Her family preferred the latter for simplicity; if they used the former they shortened it to Stella: which led her sometimes to write it S. Anna . . . as soon as her writings under this signature appeared, an officious editor wrote it out Sarah; others copied. She never signed it thus. After MS. of ‘Records’ left for the printers . . . [with signature] written S. Anna, I foolishly wrote out Sarah in full . . . supposing Estelle could not be restored to her. Is there any remedy in a foot-note or otherwise?”

A later letter from Dr. Griswold(32) to Mr. S. D. Lewis, enclosing a bill for a considerable sum for making this change legal, was perhaps what dimmed Mrs. Lewis’ recently expressed ardent admiration for her [page 1576:] “DEAR DOCTOR”; and safely, after his death, started her return to Poe’s standard. Under this, she sent to print three sonnets to his memory. They began with the “First Meeting”; this was followed by “Beneath the Elm”; in the last, “To his Foes,” Mrs. Lewis regretted

“. . . . . . That Solon’s laws had fled,

Which claimed the lives of slanderers of the dead.”

But then, Dr. Griswold being already dead, escaped his share of this double dicta.

“Shortly before his death, Mr. Gabriel Harrison, . . . wrote . . . Stella(33) was a singular woman, full of romance and imagination. . . . I got my friend, Alonzo Chappell, to paint a portrait of Stella, but the poor artist found it next to impossible to make the portrait beautiful enough to satisfy the poetess.”

“Stella gave her portrait to the N. Y. Historical Society, where it now is,” writes Mr. Thomas O. Mabbott.

Of prior noting is Mrs. Clemm’s February 17, 1851, letter, to Washington Poe, pleading (from Lowell, Mass.) for his influence as to her own sales being her “present” interest in Poe’s works, and that she was “most desirous” to “leave this place” for the climate did not agree with her, also that she was “entirely without means” to do this. Meanwhile, December 26, 1851, J. S. Redfield wrote Dr. Griswold:(34)

MY DEAR SIR, . . . Duyckinck had the Mirror — when Poe wrote for it — and says there are articles worth doing. Are you aware of it? Have you used up all tales of the Arabesque? His tales are the most salable, and [page 1577:] [in Volume I, earliest issue of Poe’s Works by Redfield] most popular. We should like introductory matter . . . soon . . . for I want to publish the book January, [1852.]

Yours truly,


Prior letter seems best authority that Poe’s works were selling well and that sonic ate realized profits, when May 6, 1852, Mrs. Clemm — still at Lowell — wrote of her neuralgia and other ailments to Mrs. Whitman,(35) who was thanked for her kindly attention and “welcome money.” The writer noted her thought of Fall River for June.

In Mrs. Clemm’s March 2, 1853, reply to Dr. Thomas H. Chivers’ letter appears of Mrs. Jane E. Locke, of Lowell, Mass.: “I have not seen her since my Eddie’s death. She spoke unkindly of him and that is sufficient reason to make me hate her,” This expression suggests an added reason, aside from climate, etc., that seems to have decided Mrs. Clemm to leave Lowell. However, her neuralgia and other ailments from the cold of Lowell climate forced her to part from “Annie” there and go to the home of Mr. and Mrs. S. D. Lewis, 125 Dean Street, Brooklyn, N. Y., in 1853. Thence her letter of November 23, 1854, went to Mrs. Whitman, and told her that its writer had been “with Mrs. Lewis for more than a year, and will remain here for at least this winter.” February 9, 1857, found Mrs. Clemm still there, . . . “most unhappy,” in “miserable” health, and appealing to Mrs. Whitman for aid to take the writer “South.” She closed with, . . . “if I go, I must go soon.” November [page 1578:] 8, 1858, Mrs. Whitman was advised by Mrs. Clemm that she was with kind friends — the Reuben Johnstons, at Alexandria, Virginia. She, with distress, noted the “slanderous treatment of dear Eddie” by a Charles F. Briggs “Memoir” in “Poe’s Illustrated Poems,” which “Memoir” statements she hoped some one would disprove; Mrs. Clemm added of her Brooklyn stay: “I suppose you have seen by the papers that Mr. and Mrs. Lewis are divorced. I had a most uncomfortable time there . . . I left before they were divorced.”

Dr. R. W. Griswold died, at his New York City home, August 27, 1857. March 10, 1859, began some letters to Mrs. Clemm from Mrs. Whitman, inquiring as to personal data of Poe for her defence of him, in “Edgar Poe and his Critics.” April 4, 1859, dated one in which was:(36) “Some time in November last I received . . . a letter in which you spoke of the Memoir prefixed to the Illustrated Volume of Edgar’s Poems, regretting the misrepresentations of injurious statements . . . reprinted in it & requesting me to write for your friends a statement which should remove the effect they were calculated to induce. I answered . . . by return of mail, complying with your wish & asking from you some information with regard to Edgar’s reported marriage engagements with a lady of Richmond whose name I did not then know, but, . . . since learned through Mrs. Anna Cora Ritchie of that city. Will you tell me . . . of this lady? . . . Edgar spoke of her when he was in Providence during the autumn of 1848. He spoke of having thought of renewing with her an earlier attachment. . . . But at [page 1579:] that time I think he told Mr. Pabodie that the years of their separation had greatly changed the tastes & idiosyncrasies of both and there seemed but little chance of happiness for either in a renewal of their earlier relations.” Mrs. Whitman made a number of personal quests as to Poe, also of his engagement to Mrs. Shelton, and on other scores; after which a curious item came, — that Mrs. Mowatt Ritchie “(who is intimately acquainted with Mrs. Allan, the widow of Mr. Allan) writes me that he [Mr. Allan] was only once married, while Griswold gives the very date the former Mrs. Allan died.” Mrs. Whitman concluded with: “Have you heard of the death of Mrs. Jane E. Locke? I saw it not long ago in the Boston papers.”

The foregoing letter seems to affirm that Poe did not meet Mrs. Shelton until 1849, as she stated that she was not in Richmond during his 1848 summer visit there.

Concerning Poe’s defence by Mrs. Whitman, April 5, 1859, she wrote Mrs. Clemm:(37) “I think it will very essentially modify the popular judgment. . . . It was . . . commended to the Editors of the Atlantic. After detaining it three months it was rejected without explanation. I believe that Mr. Lowell is not disposed to look favorably upon anything written in Edgar’s favor.”

April 14, 1859, Mrs. Clemm thanked Mrs. Whitman for money aid that gave her medicines and other needed items, and incidentally noted that her generosity was in marked contrast to “rich” Mrs. Shelton’s lack of interest, and from whom the writer had not heard “for a long time.” There is a dim record that [page 1580:] Mrs. Shelton was much of an invalid during her later years. Poe’s first love died in 1888, and was laid to rest in the peaceful silence of Shockoe Hill, not far from his foster mother and his first “Helen.” Mrs. Clemm must have sent Poe’s last letters to herself; for in Mrs. Whitman’s “NEW YORK, April 17th, ‘59” letter, appeared: “I thank you for your very kind letter & for the papers which you entrusted to me. I found them very interesting, but VERY sad. My heart ached to think on the sorrows of those last fatal days. . . . [Mrs. Whitman made further Poe-quests in connection with her own defence of the poet; inquired of his friend “Annie”; noted that she never met her — perhaps, was not allowed to, by Mrs. Jane E. Locke — and closed with] I must . . . say how grateful I am to [page 1581:] you for entrusting me with the papers which I return to you — I think I can understand all the motives that influenced Edgar in those last days & can see how the desire to provide a home & friends for you swayed him in all.”

Concerning inaccuracies of Poe-given dates, Mrs. Clemm wrote, April 22, 1859, “My poor Eddie never could remember dates, but always had to refer to me.” On literary scores, prints, etc., Poe’s memory as to elates could not be questioned, and its failures on family birth dates harmed no one but himself and gave him no uneasy conscience. Mrs. Clemm added that Mrs. Richmond “still cherishes the memory of clear Eddie,” aids his “desolate mother,” and writes her once a week. Mrs. Clemm concluded that she never would have left Lowell, but the doctor told her that she never could survive in that climate.

After Dr. Griswold’s death — August, 1857 — his influence waned as to Poe, whose ascendency might be said to have renewed its life at that date.

Mr. Victor H. Paltsits, New York City, notes a C. D. Griswold letter, of September 17, 1857, among the MSS. of Dr. John W. Francis (who was so kind to Poe), that thanks this able physician for his beneficent attendance on Dr. Griswold during his fatal illness. It is not generally known that Dr. Griswold dedicated “The Republican Court,” of 1854 issue, to Dr. Francis. But not until about three years after Dr. Griswold was very still, did Rudd and Carleton issue, February S, 1860, “EDGAR POE AND HIS CRITICS,” by SARAH HELEN WHITMAN. This tiny tome, of some sixty-nine pages, was a strong, loyal and first defence, [page 1582:] in book form, of the poet’s personal life so unfortunately reflected by his “Memoir” as written by Dr. R. W. Griswold. The text of this “Memoir” was furnished by the editor’s “Ludwig” Poe-article (in October 9, 1849, New York Tribune), which began with: “Edgar Allan Poe is dead. He died in Baltimore the day before yesterday. This announcement will startle many, but few will be grieved by it. The poet was well known personally, or by reputation, . . . but he had few or no friends; literary art . . . [has] lost one of its most brilliant but erratic stars.”

In Mrs. Whitman’s first “Preface” to her 1860 Poe-defence appeared:

DR. GRISWOLD’S MEMOIR OF EDGAR POE has been extensively read and circulated; its perverted facts and baseless assumptions have been adopted into every subsequent memoir and notice of the poet, and . . . translated into many languages. . . . It has been assumed by a recent English critic [perhaps Dr. George Gilfillan] that “Edgar Poe had no friends.” . . . As an . . . earnest protest against . . . Dr. Griswold’s unjust memoir, these pages are submitted to . . . candid readers and critics by


Mrs. Whitman gave drastic treatment to Poe’s critics in the persons of “Original Memoir“-writer [Charles F. Briggs] whose critique prefixed Poe’s “Illustrated Poems” (and crucified his manes) as issued by Redfield, and much distressed Mrs. Clemm — as of prior noting. Mrs. Whitman named one foreign critic as “The Rev. George Gilfillan, in his very imaginative portraiture of the poet.” Of Edgar Poe’s individual life follows: “One clear glance into its [page 1583:] mournful corridors, its ‘halls of tragedy and chambers of retribution,’ would appal the boldest heart,” and the hardiest of his critics. Mrs. Whitman sent her forceful little book with some more money aid to Mrs. Clemm, who at once responded: “I cannot help saying to you, that since my dear Eddie’s death, you have been one of my best friends.” A later request for some of Poe’s handwriting, also some money aid from Mrs. Whitman, was answered by her, Feb. 28, 1860, thus: “I would gladly send you some of Edgar’s writing if I had not already parted with nearly everything but his letters, and these I cannot lose.” Mrs. Whitman also retained her copy(38) of “The Raven and Other Poems,” New York, 1845, issue, inscribed to her by Poe; and by her to C. Fisk Harris, to whom her letter mentioned Poe as “One whose memory I dearly cherish.” This copy contains autographed initials “E. A. P.”; and the word “Stanard” designated the subject of the poem “To Helen.”

Mrs. Whitman continued her letter with details of financial losses and some money “heartily” placed at Mrs. Clemm’s service with no need to trouble about its return. March 17, 1860, her seventieth birthday, Mrs. Clemm wrote that this sum gave her medicine and other little comforts, and added of her Alexandria, Va., life: “As an equivalent for my board I teach three children from nine until twelve; the rest of the day I devote to sewing . . . About five I retire to my room, and oh, how I do enjoy being there with my sad, sad memories.” It is of several records that both Poe and Mrs. Clemm “enjoyed the luxury of misery.” If such critics’ portion of it, experienced in lack of [page 1584:] health and over-plenty of grinding poverty, they might not have borne this double burden less lightly than its “luxury” brought to Poe and Mrs. Clemm.

May 20, 1860, Mrs. Whitman was advised by Mrs. Clemm(39) of her unhappiness in the excitement of Mrs. Lewis’ home, her own broken health as not helped in her present home, as its cellar was “always filled with water”; and this had decided her to go to her friend, Miss Robbins, at Putnam. August found her in that home, which she noted as fine, spacious, beautifully situated in extensive grounds. Yet there, time brought physical and mental ailments in the spring of 1862, and to the extent that determined Mrs. Clemm to go to the Church Home — the Washington College Hospital of 1849, where Poe died October 7th of that year. It stood on the corner of Broadway and Hampstead Street, Baltimore, Md. But prior to this move, Mrs. Clemm, Aug. 19, 1860, reminiscently wrote Mr. Neilson Poe of her long ago, at Fordham: “Oh, how supremely happy we were in our dear cottage home! We three lived only for each other. Eddie rarely left his beautiful home. . . . He passed the greater part of the morning in his study, and, after he had finished his task for the day, he worked in our . . . flower garden, or read and recited poetry to us. Everyone who knew him intimately, loved him. . . . We had very little society except among the literati, but this was exceedingly pleasant.”

It must have been through Mr. Neilson Poe that Mrs. Clemm heard that the poet was not true to his wife, or that charges against Edgar were made to such effect, for Aug. 26, 1860, a week later, she again wrote [page 1585:] of Virginia and her husband to Neilson Poe: “. . . it is utterly false the report of his being faithless or unkind to her. He was devoted to her until the last hour of her death, as all our friends can testify. . . . I enclose you two of Eddie’s letters. . . . The other was written at the time you generously offered to take my darling Virginia. I wrote Eddie, asking his advice, and this is his answer. Does the affection then ex pressed look as if he could ever cease to love her? And he never did.”

“June 15th” dated a plaintive letter of the poet’s “Annie,” at Lowell, Mass., to Mrs. Clemm, lamenting her long absence and expressing a hope for a future meeting. Mrs. Richmond noted, with keen regret, the loss of her Poe daguerreotype, and of himself wrote:(40) “As the years go by & I see others who are called refined & elegant among men, I realize more fully his superiority.”

What seems to be Mrs. Clemm’s last appeal to Mrs. Whitman for money aid was dated 16th of June, 1863, and noted that the admission fee to the Church Home, Baltimore, was $150; and there she could be cared for during her life. She wrote that the Episcopal Church rector, Dr. Wyatt, had placed her there for a few weeks, and if she raised the sum named, she could obtain this life-“haven of refuge” which was associated with the last days of her beloved Eddie. For this roofage, Mrs. Clemm wrote that the Church would aid her in getting the required amount, and added “If I do not succeed in obtaining it I know not what will become of me. . . . If I get there I will never need further help. . . . I am now in the house where [page 1586:] my beloved Eddie breathed his last, and I think it one of my greatest privileges that I can go into the room where he died and pour out my earnest prayers to God and ask Him to continue His protection to me. The sisters are very kind and treat me with great attention.”

Undoubtedly Mrs. Whitman’s disregard of Poe’s last appeal to her — for the “few words” that would have exonerated him in all his associations with her — made the only, moral claim on her generous attentions to Mrs. Clemm, of whom “Poe’s Helen” stated:(41) “I have never seen her . . . through . . . letters alone I know her. Mrs. Osgood told me that she had been a thorne in Poe’s side . . . embroiling him in difficulties, etc. . . . Poe always spoke of her with grateful and affectionate consideration. I believe that she loved him devotedly.”

At Baltimore, Jan. 26, 1915, Dr. Thomas S. Cullen wrote: “Several years ago careful investigation was made to determine in what room of the Church Home [Washington College Hospital in 18491 Poe died. . . . And from all I could learn . . . it was one of the tower rooms. This tower is now a large stairway. The room no longer exists. It was a pleasure to send to you a photograph of the Poe tablet that Mrs. Cullen had placed in this Church Home in 1909. . . . I learn that Poe was brought to Church Home Infirmary in an unconscious state and very ill. It was said that he did not regain consciousness and died in a few days.”

As of prior mention, it comes from James C. Derby (of the long-ago firm of J. C. Derby & Co., New [page 1584:] York)(42) that “The most important of all of Mr. [J. S.] Redfield’s publications, . . . were the works of Edgar Allan Poe” — and “The sale reached about fifteen hundred sets every year.” William Gowans’ Catalogues printed prices of Poe’s works were from $3.73 to $9.00 per set. From Mr. Derby comes this singular statement, that “The copyright [of very late 1849, taken in J. S. Redfield’s name] was paid at first to Mr. Poe, [these works were not issued until 1850, and Poe was then very still in his grave, since prior October 8, 1849] and after his death to his mother-in-law, Mrs. Clemm, who received copyright on several editions.” Up to date no known receipts, for such copyright returns, bearing Mrs. Clemm’s name [page 1588:] have been found. But not less strange seems the statement: “She came to Mr. Redfield one day in a great strait — saying she was going to Baltimore to enter a home for aged females. [Mrs. Clemm was admitted to the Church Home in 1863.] She wanted to raise two hundred and fifty dollars, and [from 1850 to 1863 she was pleading for pittances from Poe’s friends for her daily needs] if he would let her have that amount, she would relinquish all claims to copyright, [If her returns for thirteen years were — as she claimed” only “on copies she sold, burdened as they were with Dr. Griswold’s “Memoir” of Poe, and she received no other copyright revenue, her proposition to Mr. Redfield would not be so difficult to understand. And his part in results would seem impossible to reconcile with integrity of character on personal or business scores. However] Mr. Redfield hesitated at first, but finally yielded to her importunities and paid her the money, thus becoming owner of the copyright as well as the stereotype plates of Poe’s complete works” — for $250. These rights were later obtained, with other Redfield properties, by W. J. Widdleton, who finally sold them all out to A. C. Armstrong & Son.

Between the years of Poe’s death — Oct. 7, 1849 — and that of Mrs. Clemm — Feb. 16, 1871 — Longfellow, Lowell, Cooper, Dr. Griswold and other writers, were receiving fair living copyright returns from their print issues. Why thenthese twenty-odd years, should Mrs. Clemm have been so pitifully poor?

Among Poe’s friends who came into personal touch with Mrs. Clemm at the Church Home, Baltimore, was the artist-actor Gabriel Harrison. He noted that he [page 1589:] first met her at the Brooklyn, N. Y., home of Mr. and Mrs. S. D. Lewis; and after Poe’s death, Mr. Harrison remained a devoted friend of Mrs. Clemm to the end of her days.

In Mr. Harrison’s record appears of Mrs. Clemm:(43) “Mr. Lewis was one of her very best friends. Many a package of delicacies I have known him to send her. . . . Holidays were always so remembered.” At the Church Home, under Mrs. Clemm’s directions, Mr. Harrison made a color portrait of Poe from one of his daguerreotypes. While he was doing this, “she took from her finger her own wedding-ring and that of Poe’s wife made into one,” and which “Poe wore up to the hour of his death,” and gave it, with his moustache scissors and pocket-comb, to Mr. Harrison. He presented this ring [which appears in the Poe portrait, and authenticates same, at the United States Navy Yard, Charlestown, Mass.] and his Poe portrait to the Long Island Historical Society, in Brooklyn, N. Y. The scissors went to Mr. Chandos Fulton, an ardent admirer of Poe, and a defender of his character and genius. Mr. Harrison added: “The comb I snugly tucked away in an old trunk in which I keep all the heart treasures of my life. Poe had his faults unquestionably, but none I ever saw, were they mine, would I blush to confess to the world.”

It was seemingly to Mr. Harrison that, December 12, 1864, Mrs. Clemm wrote:(44) “I assure you the money — so much needed — did not gratify me so much as your sympathy. Oh! how grateful to my desolate heart. . . . When you see Mr. Lewis thank him sincerely for me. I am very happy to hear he [page 1590:] is well. . . . I have of dear Eddie’s but a few mutilated letters. Mrs. J. P. Kennedy called . . . at the request of her husband to solicit manuscript. But alas! I have nothing of his to give. Mr. Longfellow wrote a short time ago for two autographs to send a distinguished lady in Europe. I was obliged to get them from a friend. . . . Since suffering so much I have wished for some little delicacy. While in Virginia, Mr. Lewis sent me a box of oranges which did me much good. . . . I often suffer for a cup of green tea. I cannot drink the stuff they have here. [page 1591:] Everything is so high . . . they cannot afford better. I hope much I will soon be where all wants will be supplied without money or price.”

Charles Dickens(45) was another friendly caller who paid his respects to Mrs. Clemm — as the “more than mother” of Edgar Poe — at Church Home. “Dickens, . . . generously entreated her acceptance of one hundred and fifty dollars, accompanying the gift with the assurance of his sympathy.” Also two young men of Baltimore — Eugene L. Didier and William J. McClellan — gave Mrs. Clemm special pleasure by taking her to see the life-size, half-figure Poe-portrait, in pastel colors, by Oscar Halling, then on public exhibition and later owned by General Edgar Allan Poe of Baltimore and a relative of the poet. Mrs. Clemm highly commended this portrait as “true to life”; and its reprint (p. 641) enriches these pages by permission of General Poe. Mrs. Clemm was overjoyed to learn, during her last years, of the projected Baltimore Monument to Poe.

Mrs. Clemm passed to her eternal rest, February 16, 1871. By her last request her papers and records went to her cousin, judge Neilson Poe, after her poor, worn-out mortality was placed beside the poet-son of her heart, whom she so selflessly served so long and so well. Of herself, the late Hamilton W. Mabie wrote: “Mrs. Clemm was of epical dignity in her patient beautiful ministry.” And thus immortalized, she entered “Poe’s literary domain” of “No-Man’s-Land, where its airy denizens were neither draped in flesh, nor dominated or colored with human blood.” In spiritual force she went to the poet and their well-beloved [page 1592:] “Annabel Lee ”; and for all that is worth while in continuous human struggles for the better land.

In 1885, all that was mortal of Virginia was brought from the Old Dutch Reformed Churchyard, at Fordham, New York, and placed beside her mother and poet-husband.

As to the poet’s sister, Mr. James H. Whitty has scored what came from her foster-mother, Mrs. Mackenzie, and other sources, that Rosalie inherited her parents’ shattered health; as that of both was in broken condition — even if her father was living — at the time of her birth, December 20, 1810. Dim tradition dates her father’s death the prior October 19th, of that year. Rosalie was a delicate, attractive child up to the age of sixteen. Then her energies seemed to have come under a spell of sudden blight from which she never fully recovered. While she had every advantage Miss Jane Mackenzie’s fine school could bestow, Rosalie’s acquirements were never more than reading, writing, spelling and some playing on the piano. In penmanship she was said to excel, and she became the writing teacher of that school. Mr. Edward V. Valentine’s sister — the late Mrs. E. A. V. Gray, one of the pupils — said: “Rosalie wrote a beautiful hand . . . she was the pen-maker, of quills,” in those days.

Miss Margaret Ritchie — daughter of Editor Thomas Ritchie, of the Richmond Examiner, and later wife of Dr. Stone, physician of President Lincoln — was another of Rosalie’s pupils, and intimate with the Mackenzie family.

Some Richmond residents can still recall the poet’s sister as “well-formed; with large, dark gray eyes, [page 1593:] and brow much like her brother’s.” Mrs. George K. McGaw, whose father’s second wife was Mary E. Herring Warden, daughter of ‘Mr. Henry Herring and his second wife — knew Rosalie during her later years. Mrs. McGaw writes of her: “She called Edgar ‘Deddie’ to their intimates.” Other records are, that while his sister’s peculiarities seemed trying to the poet’s fastidious taste, they had many characteristics in common. They both loved flowers, and he was rarely seen, while in Richmond, without a flower in his button-hole; and her great delight was giving flowers to her friends. Music, they both loved, but it made them sad; both worshipped the beautiful, and had strong aversion to the harsh or coarse in thought or actions. From several sources it comes, that when Poe was last in Richmond, and Rosalie was thirty-nine, — and he, forty — that she looked much the elder; that he was very gentle with her and indulgently went about with her to see her friends. Rosalie adored her poet-brother, and when the news of his death reached her, she was stunned with grief, and she always spoke of him as “my dear brother.”

Up to the Civil War date, the Mackenzie home, Duncan Lodge, was gay in its luxurious hospitality of those Old Virgina [[Virginia]] days. It was said that Mr. Mackenzie left Rosalie(46) a modest independence in consideration of her helplessness. , . . This bequest, ugly rumor had it, was squandered by her guardian, Mackenzie’s son. He died, leaving Rosalie to the care of his family. Undoubtedly the Mackenzie family’s whole substance was wiped out of existence with the Civil War times and their issues. [page 1594:]

Mrs. McGaw writes: “Rosalie suffered much from the effects of the Civil War.” And Mr. James Warden (Mrs. McGaw’s father) “sent Rosalie a box of clothing and other necessities that ran the blockade to reach her.” Rosalie appealed to various friends to sell her brother’s pictures and letters to help her. Mrs. McGaw notes that she, herself, was about sixteen, when Rosalie — near fifty — began to visit Mrs. Warden’s home, and was added: “As there were eight of us children, it fell to my lot to sleep with her. . . . My step-mother thought that Aunty Clemm imposed on Rosalie, and was always warning her against giving letters, etc., of leer brother to Mrs. Clemm. Rosalie was a gentle, mild, simple, natural woman. Her relations aided her at times.”

Mr. Whitty states: “Up to the outbreak of the Civil War and for some years later Rosalie lived between the homes of two descendants of the Mackenzie family, one just below Richmond, and another near Norfolk, Virginia. She made some visits to her Baltimore relatives; and some of her letters, to the Mackenzies, during these visits, are in existence and tell of pleasant times; her making cake to send to her old home, showing a domestic side of her nature, also her anticipated pleasure in her return, was mentioned.”

During Rosalie’s later Baltimore stay — in the 1870’s — literary and musical entertainments were given for her benefit. R. H. Stoddard’s “Poe” article, in September, 1872, Harper’s Monthly Magazine, claimed the attention of Alfred Corning Clark,(47) Cooperstown, N. Y., not only for a Poe monument aid, but by a check of $100 for the poet’s sister, At Oakland, [page 1596:] Virginia, Rosalie wrote Mr. Stoddard of the death of her brother’s friend, Editor John R. Thompson, and his making Mr. Stoddard his literary executor, and she therefore asked of him some of Poe’s autographs to sell for her needs. Rosalie thanked him for “$10,” and regretted her inability to aid his Poe work; she also made concluding mention of her “increase of years and helplessness.”

Mr. Whitty notes that “Rosalie once owned the original Poe MS. of ‘OH, TEMPORA! OH, MORES!’ One copy J. R. Thompson loaned to Mr. E. L. Didier, Baltimore, for which she was to be paid $10, and in a recently seen letter of Mr. Thompson he asked that the contract he kept, Rosalie paid,” etc. [page 1596:]

Mrs. Margaret Ritchie Stone, as Secretary of the Epiphany Church Home, Washington, D. C., assisted in opening its doors to Rosalie Poe in 1870. Some four years later — July, 1874 — Mrs. Stone fanned Rosalie, in her last moments on earth, there. Mrs. Stone said Rosalie was hopeful of a brighter hereafter; she spoke of her happy days spent with the Mackenzie family at Richmond, called it her “home”; and Mrs. Mackenzie, her “dear sainted mother.” Mrs. Stone wrote a long account of Rosalie’s last illness to the Mackenzie family, to whom she sent Rosalie’s trunk, and a few other personal effects. Mr. Whitty adds, that Mr. Mackenzie’s step-daughter, at Danville, Va., told him that she roomed with Rosalie, and now has her brooch that appears in his photograph picture of her — and of which Mr. Whitty allows a reprint in these pages. He concludes, that after her death, Rosalie was beautifully cared for, and tributes in the loveliest flowers, of which she was so fond in life, were many from friends far and near. Judge Neilson Poe was advised by telegraph of her death; he came to her funeral, and asked to be allowed to pay all expenses. This was declined. He expressed regret that the lot in which the poet lay, at Baltimore, was full, and Rosalie could not then be taken there. Therefore after her funeral she was laid to rest, for a while, in Rock Creek Cemetery, D. C. There, as in Poe’s lines,

“The lady sleeps! Oh, may her sleep,

Which is enduring, so be deep!

Heaven have her in its sacred keep!”







[S:0 - EAPTM, 1926] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Articles - E. A. Poe: The Man (M. E. Phillips) (Section 08)