Text: Edgar Allan Poe to Elizabeth R. Tutt — July 7, 1842 (LTR-141)


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July 7, 1842

[[. . . .]] My dear little wife grew much better from the very first day after taking the Jew’s Beer. It seemed to have the most instantaneous and miraculous effect. She had been dreadfully weakened, as you know, by continual night-perspirations; but the very night on which she first took the Beer she missed her usual one, and had them no more until an accident occurred by which we got out of Beer, and could not replenish our stock for three days. In this interval the perspirations returned, and her cough, which had almost ceased, came back. Upon procurring the Beer again, however, she grew better at once, and became in a short time quite strong and well. About ten days ago, however, I was obliged to go on to New York on business which absolutely required my personal attendance, and no sooner had I turned my back than she began to fret [[. . . .]] because she did not hear from me twice a day, she became nearly crazy, and in spite of all Muddy could do, she would neither eat or sleep [[. . . .]] I will never leave her again, as long as I live, for more than six hours at a time. What it is to be pestered with a wife!

[[. . . .]] I myself am quite well [[. . . .]] and doing well, although I have resigned the editorship of “Graham’s Magazine” [[. . . .]]

Edgar A. Poe.


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Notes:

In a curious little pamphlet called “Receipts for Family Medicines that will Cure All Ills that Flesh is Heir to,” by Mrs. A. W. Chantry (Philadelphia: Duross Brothers, 1866), appears (on p. 8)  the following recipe for Jews’ Beer: “Take Water, 3 quarts; Wheat Bran, 1 quart; Tar, 1 pint; Honey, half a pint; simmer together three hours, and when cold, add a pint of brewers’ Yeast; let it stand thrirty-six hours, and bottle it; a wineglassfull three or four times a day. It has cured many in the first stage of consumption. Try it, no matter how bad you are; it will relieve and help you.”

The text of the letter as published in the American Art Association catalog (Jan. 18, 1922) includes several sentences that were not reproduced by Ostrom, and do not appear even in the 2008 revised edition. They are given here from the original catalog, where the letter is described as:

REMARKABLE LETTER OF EDGAR A. POE, TESTIFYING TO THE EFFICACY OF BEER AS A MEDICINE FOR HIS SICK WIFE

229. POE (EDGAR ALLAN). Original Autograph Letter, Signed “Edgar A. Poe,” 2 1/2 quarto pages, and superscription. Dated Philadelphia, July 7, 1842. To Mrs. Elizabeth R. Tutt, Woodville, Rappahannock Co., Virginia. With 2 engraved portraits of Poe. (3). Last page torn in folds on blank portion.

A lengthy and exceedingly interesting letter from Poe to his cousin, Mrs. Tutt; written in his beautifully clear hand, and relating intimately to his personal affairs, his sick wife, their new home in Coates Street, Philadelphia, and their numerous friends. The letter is in a cheerful conversational vein, but between the lines can be read the dark despair which constantly hovered over the little household.

The letter date and signature have been added based on the description.


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[S:1 - TSPT (1922), 1843] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Letters - Poe to E. R. Tutt (LTR141/RCL379)