Poe’s Memorial Grave — Stereo View Card


Stereoscope view card of Poe's Memorial Grave

Stereo view card of Poe’s Memorial Grave, about 1880.

This stereo view card, or stereograph, was published by William Moody Chase (1817-1901), Baltimore, Maryland as part of a series called “The Beautiful in Architecture and Landscape,” about 1880. It is essentially a carefully matched pair of albumen prints, affixed to a hardboard card, measuring 7 inches wide by 3 1/2 inches high. (Flat cards, such as this one, were published until about 1880, when slightly curved mounts became more prevalent. The identical card was also issued with a red-orange mount. One example of this form was sold on eBay on August 4, 2016 with a handwritten note on the back, in ink, dated 1886.) A similar card was published by Alfred S. Campbell in Elizabeth, NJ, and copyrighted as 1896.

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

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

Note: The birth year for W. M. Chase is often given as 1818 or 1819, but his grave, in a rural cemetery in Worcester, MA (108 Grove Street) states that he was born on December 11, 1817 and died on November 20, 1901.


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