Text: Michael J. Deas, “Childhood Portrait before 1820,” The Portraits and Daguerreotypes of Edgar Allan Poe (1989), pp. 161-162 (This material is protected by copyright)


­[page 161:]

The Huntington Library Daguerreotype

Daguerreotype of Edgar Allan Poe [thumbnail]

(fig. 73)
The Huntington Daguerreotype
[Illustration on page 161]

This daguerreotype (fig. 73) was acquired at an undetermined date by the noted railway executive and rare book collector Henry E. Huntington (1850-1927). Nothing is known of the daguerreotype's early history, although the plate appears to be identical to one reproduced as the frontispiece to volume two of the Stedman and Woodberry edition of The Works of Edgar Allan Poe (Chicago: Stone & Kimball, 1894-95). That daguerreotype, a reversed copy of the “Thompson” daguerreotype of 1849 (fig. 22), was owned for many years by Edmund Clarence Stedman, the poet, critic, and author of numerous articles on Poe. Stedman had received the daguerreotype in 1880, as a gift from ­[page 162:] the Boston publisher Benjamin H. Ticknor (father of Caroline Ticknor, who in 1916 wrote Poe's Helen, a biography of Sarah Helen Whitman). Ticknor, in turn, had obtained the daguerreotype “at a much earlier date” from Charles H. Brainard, “a lecturer on literary topics.”(29)

The Brainard-Ticknor daguerreotype remained in E. C. Stedman's possession until his death in 1908, after which it was consigned for auction at New York City's Anderson Galleries. The daguerreotype was sold on January 24, 1911, accompanied by a note in Stedman's hand: “This is the best portrait in all respects of Edgar Allan Poe. A copy from it is in the Player's Club [fig. 75], New York, I think. This one went through the Boston Fire, when in the possession of Fields, Osgood & Co. Its case was so badly injured that I have substituted one that contained a daguerreotype of the same date, 184–. This photo was used for several engravings on wood & steel & was sent to London once for a picture to illustrate —— edition.”(30) The daguerreotype was purchased for $250 at the Anderson Galleries sale by George D. Smith, a rare book dealer of New York City. Its subsequent whereabouts are not definitely known, though it seems likely that the daguerreotype owned by the Huntington Library and the plate formerly owned by E. C. Stedman are one and the same.






[S:1 - PDEAP, 1989] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Bookshelf - The Portraits and Daguerreotypes of Edgar Allan Poe (M. J. Deas) (Childhood Portrait before 1820)