© 2016 University of Chicago Library
Poe, Edgar Allan. Collection
0.25 linear feet (1 box)
Special Collections Research Center
Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) was an American writer, editor, and critic. The collection contains documents relating to Poe from fellow critic and poet, Richard Henry Stoddard and author Randall Comfort, and a photograph of Poe’s cottage in New York.
The collection is open for research.
When quoting material from this collection, the preferred citation is: Poe, Edgar Allan. Collection, [Box #, Folder #], Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.
Edgar Allan Poe was an American writer, editor, and critic. Poe was born January 19, 1809, in Boston to actress Elizabeth Arnold Hopkins Poe and actor David Poe, Jr. His mother died very shortly after his father had abandoned the family, and Poe was taken into the care of John Allan, a merchant in Richmond, Virginia. With the Allan Family, Poe traveled to Britain and was briefly educated there. After moving back to Virginia with the Allans in 1820, Poe entered the University of Richmond. While at University, Poe’s debts to his foster father steadily increased, putting strain on the relationship. Eventually, Poe left school and moved to Boston in 1827, where he worked jobs as a clerk and newspaper writer.
Unable to support himself, Poe enlisted in the U.S. Army and served from 1827-1829. It was during this time that Poe began publishing his writing. After his service in the Army, Poe entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1830. After a brief period there, Poe decided to leave West Point. By 1831, Poe had left for New York and released his third volume of poems before returning to Baltimore later that year to live with his family. Poe’s eldest brother, Henry, died shortly after Poe’s arrival on August 1, 1831.
Once back in Baltimore, Poe dedicated himself completely to his writing, choosing to attempt to live of the payment for his work alone. It was a difficult career path, and Poe had to resort to assistance from his family and friends. Poe’s career soon began to gain momentum, and he was publishing stories in many periodicals in both Baltimore and Philadelphia. It was during this period, that he wrote some of his most famous poetry, including “The Raven,” which made him a popular sensation.
Poe married his cousin, Virginia Clemm, on September 22, 1835. Despite their wide age difference (Poe was 26 and Clemm was 13 when married), and their familial connection, the couple were apparently incredibly enamored of each other. Poe and Clemm moved to a cottage in Fordham, New York. Clemm’s early death in 1847 is said to be part of the source of Poe’s frequent themes of death and loss. Poe died shortly after, after being found wandering the streets of Baltimore “in great distress.” He was hospitalized, but died on October 7, 1849. The cause of his condition is unknown.
The Edgar Allan Poe collection contains two letters concerning Poe from fellow critic and poet, Richard Henry Stoddard to British poet Frederick Locker-Lampson, a photograph of Poe’s cottage in New York, taken by Stoddard, and a brief memoir about Poe’s time in New York by children’s book author Randall Comfort.
The collection was previously part of the Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection.
The following related resources are located in the Department of Special Collections:
|Box 1 Folder 1|
Memoir by Randall Comfort, typescript, mimeograph, undated
|Box 1 Folder 2|
Richard Henry Stoddard, 1880-1891