The Raven and Other Poems (1845)


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This volume was issued on November 19, 1845, about four months after his Tales (1845) by the same publisher. The number of copies printed is uncertain. Apparently, only 750 copies were planned, but this number was perhaps raised to about 1,500 in anticipation of demand based on the success of Poe’s Tales . The volume was initially issued separately with pink paper wraps. Beginning sometime early in 1846, it was issued in hard covers, bound together with the earlier Tales . The original sale price was 31 cents for the separate volume, and $1.00 for the double volume.

The Raven and Other Poems (1845)

There are at least two known presentation copies, both of the double volume: (1) Poe to Elizabeth Barrett Barrett, “To Miss Elizabeth Barrett Barrett, With the Respects of Edgar A. Poe” (April 1846);  (2) Poe to Sarah Helen Whitman, “To Mrs. Sarah Helen Whitman — from the most devoted of her friends. Edgar A. Poe.” (with the name “Stannard” added in Poe’s hand to the title of “To Helen”). (Sarah H. Whitman inscribed this copy many years later to a friend, Caleb Fiske Harris: “Sarah Helen Whitman To C. Fiske Harris. Oct 21, 1874.”) Poe’s personal copy contains a number of manuscript alterations. This copy, generally known as the J. Lorimer Graham copy, was used by R. W. Griswold in preparing his edition of The Works of the Late Edgar Allan Poe (1850). On the fly-leaf is Griswold’s signature, with the note “Poe’s Private copy.” Elsewhere, it also bears the name of George P. Philes, a New York dealer who appears to have sold the book to J. L. Graham sometime between 1857 and 1876. A supposed presentation copy to a “Miss Durant” was offered for sale sometime around 1942, but seems to have been discredited by Thomas Ollive Mabbott (T. O. Mabbott, “Introduction,” The Raven and Other Poems, New York: The Facsimile Text Society, 1942,  p. xviii, n 24). The alleged inscription from Poe to Sarah Virginia Durant read, “Miss Sarah Virginia Durant [/] from her very sincere friend [/] The Author” (This copy was sold in the auction of the library of A. E. Newton in 1941. The catalogue includes a facsimile of the inscription.) Another copy with a forged inscription, this one from Poe to J. D. Snodgrass, was sold in England about 1931 (Heartman and Canny, A Bibliography of First Printings of the Writings of Edgar Allan Poe, Hattiesburg, Mississippi: The Book Farm, 1943, pp. 105-106). A copy of uncertain authenticity is noted in American Book-Prices Current for 1928. This copy is in paper wrappers, presented to E. D. Webb, with Poe’s inscription on the front paper cover. It is further described as “showing wear and with front wrapper torn off; this wrapper was stitched on by Mrs. Webb and the copy passed by inhereitance directly from Mr. Webb to his grandson, W. S. Bull, consignor in this sale.” The book sold for $7,600. E. D. Webb may be a relative of James Watson Webb (1802-1884), the editor of the New York Morning Courier, who unfavorably reviewed Poe’s Poems (1831) on July 8, 1831, but collected 50 or 60 dollars as a donation for the Poe family about December of 1846. On February 11, 1848, J. W. Webb favorably noticed Poe’s lecture on the Universe (delivered February 3, 1848 at the Society Library in New York). In a letter of January 17, 1848 to H. D. Chapin, Poe expresses interest in meeting J. W. Webb and thanks Chapin for a letter of introduction, which he had then “not found an opportunity of presenting ... thinking it best to do so when I speak to him about the lecture.”  It is certainly reasonable that Poe may have signed a copy of his most famous book at this time. The association is sufficiently obscure as to suggest that it may be a genuine item. Its current location is unknown.


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Bibliographic Data:

8vo. (7 1/2 in x 5 in). Pages [i-vii], [1]-91. Bindings: Tan paper wrappers, with printed text.


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Census of Copies:

There are many surviving copies, although copies in the original paper covers are rare. It would be impractical to attempt a complete census of copies, but here are some significant ones:

  • University of Texas (the famous copy of J. Lorimer Graham, previous owners: R. W. Griswold (his name is written in the book); George Philip Philes (1828-1913), New York dealer (his name is written in the book); James Lorimer Graham (1835-1876); Century Club, New York (given by J. L. Graham’s widow); Miriam Lutcher Start Library at U. of TX. (The New York Public library has bound photocopies of the volumes, although many of the pencil corrections are difficult to read in this copy. The photocopies were made when the book was still in the collection of the Century Club.)
  • New York Public Library (bound with Tales, 1845) (Berg collection, inscribed copy formerly belonging to Miss Elizabeth Barrett Barrett. The inscription reads: “To Miss Elizabeth Barrett Barrett, With the Respects of Edgar A. Poe.”) (This copy is in the later issue, bound with the 1845 Tales, in the orignal publisher’s cloth binding.) (formerly owned by William Thomas Hildrup Howe (1874-1939), president of the American Book Company. Howe’s collection of 16,000 books and manuscripts was sold to Dr. Albert Ashton Berg in September 1940. Berg donated his collection to the NYPL in October 1940. Barrett’s letter to Poe was already tipped into this copy, presumably while it was owned by Howe. Howe purchased it in 1924, from the sale of the collection of Stephen H. Wakeman, where it is listed as item 947 and sold for $4,200. At this point there is no mention of Miss Barrett’s letter being included. Wakeman presumably purchased the book on October 6-7, 1910, when it was auctioned by Puttick & Simpson in London, where it was listed as item 515 and sold for £91.)
  • New York Public Library (E. A. Duyckinck’s copy, in the original paper wrappers. This book was in the Lennox Library in New York when the collection was transferred to the NYPL in 1895. It was among the papers and books donated by Margaret Wolf Duyckinck, the widow of E. A. Duyckinck, to the Lennox Library as part of the Duyckinck collection on June 9, 1890, from her will, dated June 10, 1885. She died in 1890, and had outlived all three of her sons.)
  • New York Public Library (Berg collection, inscribed copy formerly belonging to John Bisco. The inscription reads: “Mr. John Bisco — with the sincere regards of E. A. Poe.”) (This copy was formerly in the collection of Owen D. Young, which as merged with the Berg Collection.)
  • H. Bradley Martin (bound with Tales, 1845) (presentation copy, inscribed by Poe to Sarah Helen Whitman) sold at auction in 1990 for $71,500. Mrs. Whitman gave this copy to Caleb Fiske Harris (1818-1881) in 1874. It was sold at auction by George A. Leavitt (New York) from Harris’s collection on April 30, 1883 (lot 1738), for $7.75. (A copy of the sale catalog, with prices realized marked, is in the collection of the University of Michigan. It is even harder to imagine that small sum when one realizes that it was just one part of a lot that included an 1846 London printing of RAOP, a first edition 1838 Pym and an 1840 Concologist’s First Book.) It was sold in New York by John Anderson, Jr. from the collection of Thomas Jefferson McKee on November 22, 1900 as item 602 for $610. (The inscription reads “To Mrs. Sarah Helen Whitman, from the most devoted of her friends, Edgar A. Poe.” Mrs. Whitman’s presentation to Caleb Fiske Harris appears beneath Poe’s “Sarah Helen Whitman. To C. Fishe Harris, Oct. 21, 1874.” (This copy was listed in the catalog of Stephen H. Wakeman in 1924 as item 948. The inscriptions are reproduced. At that sale, it was sold for $2,600.) (Accompanying this copy is a note from Mrs. Whitman to Harris: “My dear Mr. Harris: You will not, I am well assured, feel that I lightly part with this memento of one whose memory I dearly cherish, but will receive it as a proof of my sincere friendship & regard. Sarah Helen Whitman. Providence, October 21, 1874.” This note is quoted in the Wakeman catalog.) (In a letter of April 21, 1874 to John H. Ingram, Mrs. Whitman stated that she was going to cut out the pages with the preface and the table to contents, and send them along with the letter. She also said that it was not necessary for Ingram to return them. Thus, although neither the McKee nor the Martin catalogs mention the detail, this copy is presumed to be lacking those pages, unless they have somehow been replace, perhaps when it was rebound. At the time of the McKee sale, it was described as bound in “half dark blue crushed levant morocco, top edge gilt, rough edges by F. Bedford.”)
  • Gimbel Collection (Martin F. Tupper’s copy of the London edition, as well as several other copies)
  • Abraham Lincoln (a copy noted in ABC)
  • Mrs. Marie Lousie Shew (later Mrs. Houghton) (a copy noted in Book-Auction Records, vol. IV, 1907, sold on July 1, 1907. The book was sold in London by Sotheby, Wilkinson and Hodge, as item 109, from the library of Stuart Montagu Samuel, Esq. MP (1856-1926). It was purchased by Bernard Quartich for £39. The auction catalog entry notes that it was a “Presentation copy to M. L. Houghton, with Poe’s autograph inscription in pencil, and two small corrections in the text.” This copy was bound in “the original half calf, enclosed in a morocco case, lined, by Riviere & Son.”)
  • Copy deposited for copyright on November 12, in “Clerk’s Office for the So. Dist. of New York.” (This copy has been rebound, but includes the original paper wrappers and six pages of advertisements. It is now in the Library of Congress.)
  • Lilly Library (Indiana University) (a copy in the original paper wrappers. Formerly in the collection of Josiah Kirby Lilly, Jr. (1893-1966). The donaton of his collection to the Indiana University was announced on January 8, 1956.)
  • Susan Jaffe Tane (a copy in the original paper wrappers. Formerly in the collections of Thomas W. Streeter (1883-1965) and Robert Pettit.)

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Bibliography:

  • Blanck, Jacob, “Edgar Allan Poe,” Bibliography of American Literature; volume 7: James Kirke Paulding to Frank Richard Stockton, New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1983, p. 121. (Volume 7 is edited and completed by Virginia L. Smyers and Michael Winship.) (This book is item 16147.)
  • Heartman, Charles F. and James R. Canny, A Bibliography of First Printings of the Writings of Edgar Allan Poe, Hattiesburg, Mississippi, 1943, pp. 97-108. (Reprinted, Millwood, New York: Kraus Reprint Co., 1977.
  • Hubbell, Jay B., “Introduction,” Tales and The Raven and Other Poems, Columbus, OH: Charles E. Merrill, 1969 (a photographic facsimile edition of the two collections printed by Wiley & Putnam in 1845.)
  • Mabbott, Thomas Ollive, The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe, volume I: Poems (1969); volumes II & III: Tales and Sketches (1978), Cambridge, Massachusetts: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

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[S:0 - JAS] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Editions - The Raven and Other Poems (1845)