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Poe's Finances

(This page is under construction.)

The majority of Poe's income came from his magazine and editorial duties.

Poe's letters are full of requests for money, an unpleasant habit he seems to have picked up from Mrs. Clemm, herself  a well-experienced practioner of the art. Exactly how much Poe may have acquired by this means, and how much he actually repaid, is uncertain.

One must remember, of course, that in Poe's day, there was no public welfare system.

Ostrom estimates Poe's total income at approximately $6,200. (Ostrom further notes that a dollar in 1840 was worth about nine times more than today.)

Southern Literary Messenger - editorial pay
$520.00  (Poe to Kennedy, Jan. 22, 1836)   (Including contributions, Poe estimates nearly $800.00)
$624.00 (Poe to Kennedy, Feb, 1836)  (Poe notes that White has raised his salary by $104.00)
(Poe to Kennedy, June 7, 1836 notes his salary of $15.00 per week, expecting $20.00 per week in November.)


"The Fall of the House of Usher" (1839) $24.00
"Murders in the Rue Morgue" (1841) $56.00
"The Masque of the Red Death" (1842) $12.00
"The Pit and the Pendulum" (1843) $38.00
"The Tell-Tale Heart" (1843) $10.00
"The Black Cat" (1843) $20.00
"The Gold-Bug" (1843) $100.00 (prize award)
"The Purloined Letter" (1844) $12.00
Eureka (1848), Putnam paid Poe $14.00


"The Raven" (1845) $9.00  (Ostron's estimate)  (Mabbott states that family tradition held that Poe received $15.00, Mabbott, Poems, 1969, p. 360. R. H. Stoddard says in 1877 that Poe received $10.00, supposedly based on the recollection of the publisher. In The Independent for Nov. 5, 1896, Dr. Thomas Dunn English stated that Poe received $30.00.)
"Annabel Lee" (1849) $10.00

Other Sources of Income:

Lectures (1843) $100.00 (estimate)
Libel suit award (1847) $225.00
Lectures (1849) $75.00


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