Text: Edgar Allan Poe to Lewis J. Cist — February 18, 1844 (LTR-169a)


Feb. 18. 44

My Dear Sir,

Being upon the point of quitting Philadelphia for some weeks, I think it right to drop you a line, before going, merely to acknowledge the receipt of your >>[[approximately three words, scratched out beyond reading]]<< poem, and to say that I handed it to Mr. Graham, as you desired. I feared that it would be too late — but Graham says not.

Truly yours
Edgar A Poe

Is Mr[[s]] Nichols, the poetess, a resident of Cincinnati? — and am I indebted to you, or to herself, for a copy of of [[sic]] some most touching lines To her Mother which appeared in the “Louisville Journal”, and which reached me via your city? Can you tell me anything of Mrs Nichols’ personal history? I feel a deep interest in her poems, and consequently in herself. Please write in reply.

L. J. Cist Esqre



The manuscript for this letter is currently in a private collection. It is printed here with permission of the owner. A photocopy was kindly provided on August 20, 1999.

No poem appears in Graham’s for 1844 with the name of Cist as author. One short poem, “To Flora,” is signed with an obvious pseudonym of “Gnoman” and printed in the issue for March 1844 (p. 108), which would, presumably, have been nearing completion about this time. The poem is given no author in the index for volume XXIV. Several other poems in 1844 are also credited to “Gnoman.”

Mrs. Nichols was Rebecca Shepard Nichols (1820-1903). She contributed several to short stories and poems to Graham’s Magazine when Poe was an editor, and afterwards. Poe gave her a brief “ mention in his “Appendix of Autographs” (Graham’s , January 1842), and she was included by Griswold in his Female Poets of America (1848, p. 316). Her name also appears in Poe’s list of subscribers and contributors to the Penn/ Stylus magazine. She was indeed a resident of Cincinnati. Poe’s letter of June 3, 1844 to Cist clearly shows that he did send Poe information on Mrs. Nichols.


[S:0 - MS, 18xx] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Letters - Poe to L. J. Cist (LTR169a/RCL466a)