Edgar Allan Poe in Baltimore


Although Richmond is the place Poe most considered home, Baltimore defines the beginning and the end of his life. Born while his parents, both actors, were traveling in Boston, his family roots were firmly set in the soil of Baltimore and here his mortal remains rest for eternity. His great-grandfather, John Poe, established the Poe clan in Baltimore in 1755, only a year before his death. Poe’s grandparents, David and Elizabeth Cairnes Poe, raised seven children and achieved here a place of prominence if not wealth through patriotism, hard work and community service. When asked about his origins, Poe was fond of saying that he was a Virginian gentleman, but it was in Baltimore that Poe sought refuge when he had feuded with his foster father, John Allan, and was compelled to leave the house. It was in Baltimore that Poe found his future wife, Virginia Eliza Clemm, and in Baltimore that he placed his feet on the first steps of what would be his career for the next 17 years. Perhaps most revealing, when asked for the place of his birth, Poe turned his back on Boston by stating only that his family was from Baltimore, allowing biographers to be misled by the omitted detail.

It was most likely in Baltimore that Poe began his transformation from a poet to a writer of imaginative short stories. By 1831, Poe had published three collections of his poems, with little financial and only minor critical success. Although poetry clearly was and would remain his first love, it seemed obvious that Poe would need to expand his bag of tricks if he hoped to make a living as a writer. In 1827, Poe’s brother, William Henry Leonard Poe, published in the Baltimore North American a fictional narrative titled “The Pirate.” (Henry, as he was always called, lived most of his short life in Baltimore and published a number of poems and other pieces in the Baltimore North American. For a time, Henry appears to have been employed as a sailor, possibly the inspiration for Poe’s Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym.) Perhaps encouraged by his brother’s apparent success, Poe began to write stories. By 1833, Edgar had written eleven prose extravaganzas he hoped to publish as a set under the title “Tales From the Folio Club.”

In October of 1833, he made an important friendship with John Pendleton Kennedy, who recommended Poe to his friend Thomas W. White. White, the owner and editor of the Southern Literary Messenger, was eager for some assistance in dealing with what he had found to be the increasingly onerous responsibilities of running a magazine. Poe left Baltimore for Richmond, Virginia in August of 1835. He never again made a home in Baltimore, but thought fondly of it and often passed through on business and to visit family and friends. The last of these trips was in September and October of 1849. Much speculation has been written about his final days and everything from alcoholism to rabies has been offered as the cause for his mysterious death at the age of 40. His remains were originally placed in lot 27, near those of his grandparents and his brother in the Westminster Burying Ground at Fayette and Greene Streets.


Poe-related Sites:

Unfortunately, nearly all of the Poe-related sites in Baltimore have been lost. This sad fact is due in part to the Great Baltimore Fire of 1904, which destroyed so much of the older areas of the city. Even more destructive to historic buildings has been over one hundred years of modernization and “progress.” In some cases, even the streets themselves have been changed or obliterated. Only a few sites remain:

  • Baltimore Poe House and Museum (West Baltimore, 203 Amity Street)
  • Poe Grave (West Baltimore, Fayette and Greene Streets)
  • Church Hospital (East Baltimore, 100 North Broadway)
  • Sir Moses Ezekiel Statue of Poe (University of Baltimore, Law Center Plaza, Maryland and Mt. Royal Avenues)
  • John H. B. Latrobe House (11 East Mulberry Street) (The Latrobe House is not open to the public.)

Collections and information resources in Baltimore:

  • The Enoch Pratt Free Library (400 Cathedral Street, between Franklin and Mulberry)
  • The Maryland Historical Society (Monument Street, west of Mount Vernon Place)


Chronology of Poe in Baltimore:

  • 1755 - John and Jane McBride Poe (great-grandparents of Edgar A. Poe) move to Baltimore. With them are at least four children, including their eldest son, David Poe (Edgar’s grandfather), born in Ireland in 1742 or 1743.
  • 1756 - John Poe dies in Baltimore.
  • 1775 - David and Elizabeth Cairnes Poe (grandparent’s of Edgar A. Poe) live on Baltimore’s Market Street. David Poe is a wheelwright, making spinning wheels, clock reels, weavers’ spools and similar items. He later runs a drygoods store. (Quinn, Edgar Allan Poe, p. 14.)
  • 1784 (July 18) - David Poe, Jr. (Edgar’s father) is born in Baltimore to David and Elizabeth Cairnes Poe.
  • 1779 (Sept. 17) - David Poe, Sr. is commissioned as Assistant Deputy-Quartermaster General for the City of Baltimore. (Although his rank was Major, he was affectionately known as “General” Poe.) He spends 40,000 silver dollars of his own money to help provide supplies for the Revolutionary War, money which the Continental Congress neglects to repay. According to J. T. Scharf, Lafayette later notes that David Poe sent him 500 dollars to help clothe and feed his troops and that Mrs. Poe helped to make “with her own hands ... five hundred pairs of pantaloons.” (This information is recorded in Niles Register for October 23, 1824.)
  • 1799 (May 31) - Popular actress Elizabeth Arnold (later Elizabeth Arnold Hopkins Poe, Edgar’s mother) makes her first Baltimore appearance. Traveling frequently through east coast cities from Boston to Norfolk, she will appear on the Baltimore stages again at least 80 times by June 12, 1802. She is generally described as charming, with a pleasant singing voice. (Quinn, Edgar Allan Poe, pp. 697-724.)
  • 1802 (July 17) - Jane McBride Poe, Edgar’s great-grandmother, dies in Baltimore at the age of 96. (Her home, no longer standing, was on German Street, between Howard and Hanover.) She is buried in the Westminster Burying Ground in lot no. 129. (Phillips, Edgar Allan Poe, p. 22.)
  • 1805 (June 7) - Having abandoned law school for acting, David Poe, Jr. (Edgar’s father) makes his first Baltimore appearance. He will continue his rather mediocre career until October 18, 1809 in spite of generally negative and sometimes very harsh criticism from reviewers. (Quinn, Edgar Allan Poe, pp. 697-724.)
  • 1809 (Feb.-Aug.) - By family tradition, five week old Edgar, born in Boston, is taken by his parents to stay briefly in Baltimore with his paternal grandparents, David and Elizabeth Cairnes Poe, then living on Camden Street. (This house no longer exists.)
  • 1813 (Feb. 8) - Edgar’s aunt, Elizabeth Poe, writes to Frances Allan with thanks for her kindness to little Edgar. (In December of 1812, Edgar and Rosalie Poe were left orphaned in Richmond, Virginia. Henry, the eldest of the three children, had remained in Baltimore with his grandparents. Edgar and Rosalie were taken in by wealthy Richmond families, Rosalie by the MacKenzies and Edgar by the Allans.)
  • 1814 (Sept. 12-13) - In the battle of North Point, the Maryland Militia drives back an attack by the British. Among the patriots defending Baltimore is 71-year old David Poe, Sr. (Quinn, Edgar Allan Poe, p. 18.)
  • 1816 (Oct. 17) - David Poe, Sr. dies in Baltimore and is buried in lot no. 27 at the Westminster Burying Ground at Fayette and Greene Streets.
  • 1822 (August 15 or 16) - Virginia Eliza Clemm (Edgar’s cousin and future wife) is born in Baltimore to Maria and William Clemm, Jr. She is baptized at St. Paul’s Protestant Episcopal Church by Bishop James Kemp on Nov. 5 or 15.
  • 1824 (Oct. 10) - On his tour of America, Lafayette visits Baltimore and makes a trip to the grave of his friend, David Poe, Sr. Out of embarrassment, Congress bestows an annual pension of $240 on David Poe’s destitute widow. (This visit is confirmed by Niles Register for October 23, 1824.)
  • 1827 (March-May?) - Edgar A. Poe is in Baltimore prior to enlisting in the Army as Edgar A. Perry. He writes two untitled poems, now know as “To Margaret” and “To Octavia” in the albums of Margaret Bassett and Octavia Walton. (Mabbott, Poems, 1969, pp. 14-17.)
  • 1827 (Oct. 20) - Edgar’s poem “Extract—Dreams,” now know as “Dreams,” appears in the Baltimore North American, but is signed W. H. P. [William Henry Poe].
  • 1829 (Jan.) - Poe’s brother Henry lives in Baltimore with his aunt (Maria Clemm), her 10-year old son (also named Henry), her 6-year old daughter (Virginia Eliza) and his 72-year old grandmother (Mrs. Elizabeth Cairnes Poe) in Mechanics Row, Wilks Street. Edgar undoubtedly visits them there. (This house no longer exists.) Henry Poe works in the counting house of Henry Didier. (The 1830 U.S. census lists Maria, her two children, her mother and a young slave woman. Henry Poe’s absence may be accounted for by the possibility that he was at sea in 1830.)
  • 1829 (May 7 or 8) - Poe may have rented a room with Mrs. Beacham, at No. 28 (then No. 9) Caroline Street, at the corner of Bounty Lane. (This house no longer exists.) Shortly afterwards, Poe writes an untitled poem (published long after his death as “Alone”) in the album of Lucy Holmes (later Lucy Holmes Balderston). Poe is a frequent visitor of the Baltimore Assembly Rooms and Library.
  • 1829 (June) - Poe shares a room with a cousin, Edward Mosher, at Beltzhoover’s Hotel. (The hotel, no longer standing, was on the southeast corner of Hanover and Baltimore Streets.) Mosher steals $46.00 from Poe, although Poe is able to retrieve $10. (E. A. Poe, “[Letter to John Allan]”, June 25, 1829; Ostrom, Letters, pp. 21-23.)
  • 1829 (Dec. 10) - Acting as an agent for Maria Clemm, Poe assigns a 21-year old slave named Edwin to Henry Ridgway, a freed black, for a term of nine years for $40. No further mention of Edwin is known. (May Garrettson Evans, “When Edgar Allan Poe Sold a Slave,” the Baltimore Sun, April 6, 1940.)
  • 1829 (before Dec. 29) - Baltimore printers Hatch and Dunning publish Poe’s Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane and Minor Poems. Approximately 250 copies are produced. Unlike Poe’s prior book, this one receives at least some critical attention. Most of the notices are generally favorable, but John Hill Hewitt in the Baltimore Minerva and Emerald dismisses it as “a literary curiosity, full of burning thoughts, which so charm the reader, that he forgets he is traveling over a pile of brick-bats. ...” Poe gives an inscribed copy to his Baltimore cousin, Elizabeth Rebecca Herring: “For my cousin Elizabeth — E. A. Poe.” (By 1845, Poe borrowed back this very copy to prepare his collection of The Raven and Other Poems. This copy survives, with manuscript corrections and modifications in Poe’s own hand, in the Berg Collection of the New York Public Library. The date on the title page of this copy has been altered, presumably by Poe himself, from 1829 to 1820. T. O. Mabbott was convinced that Poe used this same copy in his 1845 Boston Lyceum reading and modified the title page to support his hoaxing claim in the Broadway Journal that the poem he had read was written and published “... before we had completed our tenth year.”)
  • 1830 (Jan. ?) - Poe accepts a challenge from John Lofland (the “Milford Bard”) at the Seven Stars Tavern (on Water Street) to see who can write the greater number of verses. Poe loses to Lofland and is obliged to pay for dinner and drinks. (Phillips, Poe the Man, p. 461 and Mabbott, Poems, pp. 501-502.)
  • 1830 - The satirical poem “The Musiad or Ninead” by “Diabolus, edited by ME” is published in Baltimore. Among the 110 lines in the poem are: “Next Poe who smil‘d at reason, laugh‘d at law, / And played a tune who should have play‘d at taw, / Now strain‘d a license, and now crack‘d a string, / But sang as older children dare not sing.” (Beginning with Sarah H. Whitman, there have been numerous attempts to assign Poe as the author of this poem. Although these attempts have generally been disregarded, the references are almost certainly to Edgar or perhaps his brother, Henry. See David A. Randall, The J. K. Lilly Collection of Edgar Allan Poe: An Account of its Formation, Indiana: the Lilly Library, 1964, p. 62. See also Mabbott, Poems, p. 541.)
  • 1830 (June) - Poe leaves Baltimore for West Point.
  • 1831 (before May 6) - Edgar leaves New York and returns to Baltimore. He moves in with Maria Clemm and her household at Mechanics Row on Wilks Street.
  • 1831 (May 6) Edgar writes to William Gwynn, owner of the Baltimore Gazette and Daily Advertiser, “I am almost ashamed to ask any favour at your hands after my foolish conduct upon a former occasion — but I trust to your good nature. I am very anxious to remain and settle myself in Balto [Baltimore] as Mr. Allan has married again and I no longer look upon Richmond as my place of residence. ... I write to request your influence in obtaining some situation or employment in this city. Salary would be a minor consideration, but I do not wish to be idle. Perhaps (since I understand Neilson [Neilson Poe, Edgar’s cousin] has left you) you might be so kind as to employ me in your office in some capacity. If so I will use every exertion to deserve your confidence” (Poe to William Gwynn, May 6, 1831, Ostrom, Letters, p. 45). (Gwynn, apparently, did not respond to this request.)
  • 1831 (Aug. 1) - Poe’s brother, William Henry Leonard Poe, dies in Baltimore, presumably of tuberculosis or some other long-term illness. (Although cholera has been suggested, waves of that disease did not begin to hit the US until 1832.) The funeral proceeds from Maria Clemm’s house on Wilks Street. Henry is buried in his grandfather’s lot in the Westminster Burying Ground.
  • 1831 (Nov. 7) - In a letter to John Allan, Poe claims that he was arrested for an $80 debt incurred by his brother, Henry, and asks Allan to send him the money. (E. A. Poe, “[Letter to John Allan],” November 18, 1831; Ostrom, Letters, pp. 47-48.)
  • 1832 (before Aug. 4) - Poe sends manuscripts of several tales to Lambert A. Wilmer, editor of the Baltimore Saturday Visiter.
  • 1832/1833 - Maria Clemm moves her family out to the countryside at No. 203 (then No. 3) Amity Street. The household consists of Maria Clemm, her daughter (Virginia Eliza Clemm), her mother (Elizabeth Poe), her nephew (Edgar Poe) and perhaps her son (Henry Clemm).
  • 1833 (Feb. 2) - Poe’s poem “Enigma [On Shakespeare]” is published in the Baltimore Saturday Visiter. Over the next few months, the same newspaper prints three more of Poe’s poems: “Serenade” (April 20), “To— [“Sleep on ...”]” (May 11) and “Fanny” (May 18).
  • 1833 (Oct. 7) - John Pendleton Kennedy, Dr. James H. Miller and John H[azelhurst]. B[oneval]. Latrobe meet in Latrobe’s house at 11 West Mulberry Street to judge the entries for the contest sponsored by the Baltimore Saturday Visiter. Poe wins the $50 prize for fiction for his story “MS found in a Bottle.” His poem “The Coliseum” is given second place in the poetry contest. (The first place winner for poetry was John Hill Hewitt, a friend of the publishers and shortly to be an editor of the periodical. Hewitt had submitted his poem “Song of the Wind” under the pseudonym of “Henry Wilton.” The odd circumstances of the poetry prize, coupled with Hewitt’s negative review in the Baltimore Minerva and Emerald of Poe’s Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane and Minor Poems, formed the basis for a long and bitter feud between Poe and Hewitt.) (This house is still standing, although it is not open to the public.)
  • 1833 (before Dec. 1834) - Poe writes the poem “To Elizabeth” in the album of his Baltimore cousin, Miss Elizabeth Rebecca Herring. (It is first published in the Southern Literary Messenger for Sept. of 1835.)
  • 1833 (before Jan. 1834) - Poe writes the poem “To One In Paradise.” (This poem was incorporated without title in Poe’s tale “The Visionary” and in this form was first printed in Godey’sThe Lady’s Book for Jan. 1834.)
  • 1834 - According to Augustus Van Cleef, Poe meets Mary Starr, who lives on Exeter Street (misidentified as Essex Street) near Fayette and uses the name Mary Deveraux socially. Poe falls in love with her, but her family disapproves. (Augustus Van Cleef, “Poe’s Mary,” Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, VXXVIII, March 1889, pp. 634-640. Van Cleef was Mary Starr’s nephew. See also Mabbott, Poems, p. 232.)
  • 1834 (Sept. ?) - Poe, perhaps, works as a laborer in a Baltimore brickyard. (Robert T. P. Allen, [Letter to the Editor], Scribner’s Monthly, XI, Nov. 1875, pp. 142-143.)
  • 1834 (late, or early in 1835) - Miss Mary Winfree, a close friend of Poe’s childhood sweetheart, Sarah Elmira Royster Shelton, visits Poe in Baltimore and tells him that Elmira’s marriage to Mr. Shelton is not a happy one. For Miss Winfree, Poe writes “To Mary.” (The poem is first published as “To One Departed” in the Southern Literary Messenger for July, 1835.)
  • 1835 (March) - Poe applies for a position as a teacher in the Baltimore Public Schools, Male School No. 3. (Noted in a letter from Poe to Kennedy, March 15, 1835, Ostrom, Letters, p. 56 and 474.) (Poe, apparently, did not get the appointment.)
  • 1835 (Before May, possibly as early as February) - At the recommendation of John P. Kennedy, Poe initiates contact with T. W. White, owner and editor of the Southern Literary Messenger.From Baltimore, Poe begins to send White fiction and editorial material for publication. Poe also advises White on how to improve the magazine, including some technical features such as the style of print and the type of ink. Poe also arranges for the printing of, in the Baltimore Republican and the Baltimore American, very favorable notices of the Southern Literary Messenger.
  • 1835 (July 7) - Poe’s grandmother (Elizabeth Cairnes Poe) dies in Baltimore. Her death ends the small pension upon which Maria Clemm and her daughter, Virginia, depend for income. (Mrs. Clemm also earned some money making and mending dresses, but not enough to cover the rent.) Edgar’s cousin, Neilson Poe, offers to take in Maria and Virginia, but Edgar pleads to keep his little family together and proposes to Virginia. (E. A. Poe, “[Letter to Maria and Virginia Clemm]”, Aug. 29, 1835; Ostrom, Letters, pp. 69-71.)
  • 1835 (Sept. 22) - Poe takes out a marriage license for Virginia and himself. (T. O. Mabbott accepts the old family tradition that Edgar and Virginia were married privately at the First Presbyterian Church by the Reverend John Owen. Mabbott, Poems, 1969, p. 546. N. H. Morrison, presumably following information he obtained from Neilson Poe, wrote to J. H. Ingram in 1874 that the marriage had taken place at Christ Church and was officiated by Rev. John Johns, see Miller, Building Poe Biography, p. 52.)
  • 1835 (by Aug. 8) - Poe leaves Baltimore and moves to Richmond. As a thank you, Poe gives the incomplete manuscript for “Morella” to Mrs. Sarah P. Simmons, a neighbor.
  • 1837 (about Nov.) - The Baltimore Book for 1838 prints Poe’s darkly poetic tale “Siope — A Fable.”
  • 1838 (Sept.) - The American Museum, a new magazine published in Baltimore and edited by N. C. Brooks and J. E. Snodgrass, prints Poe’s tale “Ligeia.”
  • 1838 (Nov.) - The American Museum prints Poe’s tale “The Psyche Zenobia” (later known as “How to Write a Blackwood Article”), in which Poe pokes fun at his own habits in first person narratives of dramatic sensation.
  • 1839 (Jan. and Feb.) - The American Museum prints, in two installments, Poe’s miscellany “Literary Small Talk.”
  • 1839 (April) - The American Museum prints Poe’s poem “The Haunted Palace” (which, a few months later, would be incorporated into his tale “The Fall of the House of Usher).”
  • 1839 (Aug. 6) - The Baltimore Sun rebukes Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine, for which Poe is an editor, stating that there is: “a palpable want of tact in the manner in which it has been gotten up.”
  • 1840 (June 4) - The Baltimore Sun comments harshly about Poe’s proposed magazine: “NEW MAGAZINE. — Edgar A. Poe, Esq. assistant editor of Burton’s Magazine, has issued proposals for a monthly literary journal to be published in Philadelphia to be called the ‘Penn Magazine.’ A good many pens, and much paper will be wasted upon it.”
  • 1841 (Feb. 22) - The Baltimore Sun mentions Poe’s magazine plans again: “GIVEN UP. — Edgar A. Poe, Esq., has given up the idea of publishing the Penn Magazine, and has connected himself with Graham’s Magazine. He superintends the review department. He wields a slashing pen.”
  • 1841 (May 11) - The Baltimore Sun reprints, in two installments printed in consecutive issues, Poe’s tale “A Descent into the Maelstöm” from Graham’s Magazine. In a May 10 review of the magazine, the newspaper had singled out Poe’s tale as “the best paper in the book” and describing it as “a highly original and masterly production.”
  • 1843 (July 24-27) - The Baltimore Sun reprints, in four installments printed in consecutive issues, Poe’s prize-winning tale “The Gold-Bug” from the Dollar Newspaper (a Philadelphia newspaper owned by the same publishers).
  • 1843 (Aug. 25) - The Baltimore Sun reprints Poe’s tale “The Black Cat” from the Saturday Evening Post.
  • 1843 (Oct. 16-18) - The Baltimore Sun reprints Poe’s humorous tale “Raising the Wind; or, Diddling Considered as One of the Exact Sciences” from the Saturday Courier (of Philadelphia, PA).
  • 1844 (Jan. 31) Poe returns to Baltimore to deliver his lecture on American Poetry. The lecture takes place at 7:00 p.m. in the Egyptian Saloon at the Odd Fellows Hall, located at 30 North Gay Street, on the north side halfway between Saratoga and Lexington. (This building no longer exists.) The charge for admittance is 25 cents per ticket. Notices are carried in a number of Baltimore papers. In this lecture, Poe severely criticizes Rufus Wilmot Griswold’s Poets and Poetry of America. While in Baltimore, Poe meets with J. P. Kennedy (Ostrom, Letters, p. 242 and 704.)
  • 1844 (March 23) Poe’s story “A Tale of the Ragged Mountians” is reprinted in the Weekly Sun, from Godey’s Lady’s Book. The Evening Sun of the same date notes it as a “capital tale.”
  • 1846 (Jan. 2) - Poe, having succeeded after sevearl years of effort in selling a property “fronting Park Lane” for Mrs. Clemm to John Boucher Morris, sends the deed to Neilson Poe, asking him to hand it to Morris and to collect the price of twenty dollars, forwarding the amount to Poe in New York (see Poe to J. B. Morris, October 10, 1843 and Poe to N. Poe, Jan. 2, 1846).
  • 1846 (March ?) - Poe, perhaps, visits Baltimore and meets Robert D‘Unger. In a room at John Boyd’s establishment at 9 South Street, Poe has two drinks of whiskey and advises D‘Unger not to be too quick to enter into marriage. (Letter from Robert D‘Unger to E. R. Reynolds, Oct. 29, 1899. A letter from Mrs. Mary E. Hewitt to Poe, April 5, 1846, comments on her sadness at hearing of his recent illness in Baltimore, perhaps confirming D‘Unger’s account.)
  • 1847 (Summer) - Poe visits Baltimore and sees Robert D‘Unger. D‘Unger notes that Poe was still very depressed at the death of his wife, Virginia, (Jan. 30, 1847) and drinking steadily. (Letter from Robert D‘Unger to E. R. Reynolds, Oct. 29, 1899.)
  • 1848 (Summer) - Traveling from Richmond to New York, Poe visits Baltimore. According to Robert D‘Unger, Poe and William M. Smith visit a social club kept by Mary Nelson at 1 Tripolet Alley. (This house no longer exists.) One of the girls, supposedly nicknamed “Lenore,” was only sixteen. Poe gave her a brotherly kiss and urged her to reform. (Letter from Robert D‘Unger to E. R. Reynolds, Oct. 29, 1899.)
  • 1849 (Sept. 28) - Poe arrives in Baltimore from Richmond, possibly on the steamship Pocahontas. (Many of the details about Poe’s fateful trip to Baltimore have been asserted and disputed. Michael A. Powell, for examples, argues for an arrival date closer to October 3, on the steamer Jewess, see p. 43.)
  • 1849 (Sept.) - By one tradition, Poe is said to have attended a birthday party for a friend. In a minor violation of his non-drinking pledge, he may have participated in a toast to the hostess. (Mabbott, Poems, p. 568)
  • 1849 (Oct. 3) - Poe is found by Joseph W. Walker and taken into Cornelius Ryan’s “4th Ward Polls,” a tavern at Gunner’s Hall, 44 East Lombard Street, awaiting the arrival of his friend Dr. Joseph Evans Snodgrass. Finding Poe nearly unconscious in the tavern, Snodgrass and Poe’s uncle, Henry Herring, presume that he is drunk and send him in a carriage to what had been known as the Washington College Hospital (recently renamed as the Baltimore City and Marine Hospital, later Church Hospital), where his care is supervised by Dr. John J. Moran. (Gunner’s Hall stood on the north side of Lombard, between High and Exeter, a few doors east of High. This area is considerably changed since Poe’s day and the building no longer exists.)
  • 1849 (Oct. 4) - Poe’s Baltimore cousin, Neilson Poe, calls at the hospital to see Poe, but is told that the patient is too excitable for visitors.
  • 1849 (Oct. 5) - Neilson Poe hears that Edgar is “much better” and sends him a change of linen.
  • 1849 (Oct. 7) - At about 5:00 a.m. on Sunday morning, Poe dies. According to John J. Moran, Poe’s body is moved to the Rotunda of Washington College Hospital, where it is “visited by some of the first individuals of the city, many of them anxious to have a lock of his hair” (Moran to Maria Clemm, Nov. 15, 1849, reprinted in Quinn and Hart, Letters and Documents, pp. 31-34). According to Ella Warden, however, the viewing of Poe’s remains occurred in the home of her mother, Mary Estelle Warden, Poe’s cousin.
  • 1849 (Oct. 8 or 9) - At about 4:30 p.m., Poe is buried in his grandfather’s lot in the Westminster Burying Ground. (Oct. 8 is generally the preferred date.) A mahogany coffin is provided by Poe’s Uncle, Henry Herring, a lumber dealer. (Dr. Moran’s claims that he himself bought Poe’s coffin are without foundation. Another story that Poe’s coffin was oak is also unsubstantiated.) The hack and hearse are arranged and paid for by Edgar’s cousin, Neilson Poe. The ceremony is officiated by Poe’s relative, the Reverend William T. D. Clemm. The weather is said to have been cold and gray, with a touch of rain. The few who accompany Poe’s body to its place of rest include Henry Herring, Neilson Poe, Dr. J. E. Snodgrass and Z. Collins Lee. (Lee had been a classmate of Edgar’s at the University of Virginia and remained a life-long friend.)
  • 1854 (about) - National stories begin to circulate that Poe’s remains have been neglected and are deserving of a more prominent memorial.
  • 1865 (Oct. 7) - The Teacher’s Association of Baltimore meets at the Western Female High School (next to Westminster Burying Ground) and appoints a committee to propose the design, funding and creation of a suitable monument. Sara Sigourney Rice, a teacher at the school and an active elocutionist, is chosen to head the committee.
  • 1865 (Nov. 10) - A reading by graduates of the Western Female High School is held as the first fundraising event for the Poe memorial. The cost of tickets was 50 cents each. They were available for purchase at McCaffrey’s Music store, at 205 West Baltimore Street.
  • 1871 (Feb. 16) - Maria Clemm, Poe’s aunt and doting mother-in-law, dies at the Episcopal Church Home in Baltimore. She had lived in this charitable institution since the spring of 1863. Ironically, prior to 1850 the Church Home was the Washington College Hospital, so that Maria Clemm died in the same building as Poe had 22 years before.
  • 1874 (Aug. 24) - At the request of G. W. Eveleth, William Hand Browne writes to John Henry Ingram, Poe’s English biographer and editor, introducing himself and offering his assistance. For the next thirty-five years, Browne will maintain correspondence with Ingram, and serve as his primary Baltimore contact (see Miller, Building Poe Biography, pp. 65-87).
  • 1875 (Nov. 17) - Poe’s Memorial Grave, containing the exhumed remains of Edgar and of Maria Clemm, is dedicated in elaborate ceremonies. Among those in attendance are Neilson Poe (Edgar’s cousin) and the poet Walt Whitman. The widespread attention garnered by the event spurs new interest in Poe and helps to redeem his popular image.
  • 1885 (Jan. 19) - Virginia Poe’s remains are brought to Baltimore and reinterred with those of Edgar and Maria Clemm under the monument in Westminster Burying Ground.
  • 1921 (Oct. 20) - Having been comissioned by the Poe Memorial Association, the statue of Poe created by Moses Jacob Ezekiel is dedicated in Wyman Park, more than four years after the death of the artist. The statue was his final work.
  • 1923 (January 19) - The Poe Society of Baltimore is founded, with Dr. John Calvin French serving as the first president of the society. Its first commemorative Edgar Allan Poe program is held on the anniversary of Poe’s birthday at Westminster Hall. (Concerns about weather conditions led to the timing of the program being moved in 1959 to the first Sunday in October.)
  • 1938 (June 4) - An article in the Baltimore Sun announces plans to demolish several blocks of houses in West Baltimore for the constructin of low income housing. Members of the Poe Society of Baltimore recognize that this area will include the house at 203 Amity Street where Poe lived in 1833. Under the leadership of May Garrettson Evans, the society president, an effort is made to identify the house Poe had occupied and to preserve the building.
  • 1949 (October 2) - Poe’s house at 203 Amity Street is opened to the public under the auspices of the Poe Society of Baltimore, which remained responsible for the house and museum until 1977.
  • 1983 (Oct. 7) - The Moses Ezekiel statue of Poe is moved at the recommendation of the Poe Society of Baltimore from Wyman Park and dedicated in its new site in the plaza outside of the Law School of the University of Baltimore (at the corenr of Maryland and Mount Royal).



  • D‘Unger, Robert., “[Letter to E. R. Reynolds],” Oct. 29, 1899. (Now in the J. H. Ingram collection of the University of Virginia. Reprinted with notes by John E. Reilly in “Robert D‘Unger and His Reminiscences of Poe in Baltimore,” Maryland Historical Magazine, LXXXVIII, 1993, pp. 60-72.)
  • Evans, May Garrettson, “Poe in Amity Street,” Maryland Historical Magazine, December 1941, Vol. XXXVI, No. 4, pp. 363-380.
  • French, John C[alvin]., “Poe and the Baltimore Saturday Visiter,” Modern Language Notes,  XXXIII, No. 5, May 1918, pp. 257-267.
  • French, John C[alvin]., “Poe’s Literary Baltimore,” Maryland Historical Magazine,  XXXII, No. 2, June 1937, pp. 101-112.
  • Gaylin, David F., Edgar Allan Poe’s Baltimore, Charleston: Arcadia Publishing, 2015.
  • George, Christopher T., “A Poe Tour of Baltimore,” Maryland, VI, No. 4, Summer, 1974, pp. 24-28.
  • Jackson, David K., “Four of Poe’s Critiques in the Baltimore Newspapers,” Modern Language Notes, April 1935, pp. 251-256.
  • Mabbott, Thomas Ollive, Collected Works of Edgar Allan: Volume I, Poems, Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1969.
  • Markey, Mary and Dean Krimmel, “Poe’s Mystery House: The Search for Mechanics Row,” Maryland Historical Magazine, LXXXVI, No. 4, Winter 1991, pp. 387-395.
  • Miller, John C., ed., Building Poe Biography, Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1977.
  • Ostrom, John Ward, Burton R. Pollin and Jeffrey A. Savoye, eds., The Collected Letters of Edgar Allan Poe (third edition), New York: Gordian Press, 2 vols, 2008.
  • Phillips, Mary Elizabeth, Edgar Allan Poe, the Man, 2 vols, Chicago: John C. Winston, 1926.
  • Powell, Michael A., Too Much Moran: Respecting the Death of Edgar Poe, Eugene, OR: Pacific Rim University Press, 2009.
  • Quinn, Arthur Hobson, Edgar Allan Poe: A Critical Biography, New York: D. Appleton-Century, 1941.
  • Quinn, Arthur Hobson and Richard H. Hart, Edgar Allan Poe: Letters and Documents in the Enoch Pratt Free Library, New York: Scholars’ Facsimiles and Reprints, 1941.
  • Savoye, Jeffrey A., “Poe and Baltimore: Crossroads and Redemption,” Poe and Place, Palgrave Macmillan, 2018, pp. 97-122.
  • Thomas, Dwight and David K. Jackson, The Poe Log: A Documentary Life of Edgar Allan Poe 1809-1849, Boston: G. K. Hall and Co., 1987.



[S:0 - JAS] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Poe in Baltimore