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Mrs. Sarah Helen Whitman

(Born: January 19, 1803 - Died: June 27, 1878)

American poet. Sarah Helen Power was born in Providence, RI. Her parents were Anna Marsh and Nicholas Power. Her father was captured by the British in 1813, impressed into service in the British Navy. He continued his service at sea until 1831. She and her sister, Susan Anna Power (who grew quite eccentric, and never married), were raised by her mother alone. Sarah married John Winslow Whitman on July 10, 1828; he died on July 25, 1833.

She was briefly Poe's fiancee, in 1848. Although the marriage was called off, she supported his memory long after his death. Her book Edgar Poe and His Critics (Carleton, 1860) was instrumental in reclaiming his image from the calumnies of Griswold.

Mrs. Sarah Helen Whitman


  • Duyckinck, E. A. and G. L., "Sarah Helen Whitman," Cyclopedia of American Literature, New York: Charles Scribner, 1856, 2:487-490
  • Heartman, Charles F. and James R. Canny, A Bibliography of First Printings of the Writings of Edgar Allan Poe, Hattiesburg, MS: The Book Farm, 1943.
  • Mabbott, Thomas Ollive, ed., The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe (Vols 2-3 Tales and Sketches), Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1978. (Second printing 1979)
  • Miller, John Carl, Poe's Helen Remembers, Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia, 1979.
  • Phillips, Elizabeth, "Sarah Helen Power Whitman," American Women Writers: A Critical Reference Guide from Colonial Times to the Present, ed. Lina Mainiero, New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing, 1970, 4:404-406
  • Thomas, Dwight and David K. Jackson, The Poe Log: A Documentary Life of Edgar Allan Poe 1809-1849, Boston: G. K. Hall & Sons, 1987.

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