Text: Hervey Allen, “Appendix 08,” Israfel: The Life and Times of Edgar Allan Poe (1934), pp. 717-718


[page 717:]



TWO letters by Mrs. Maria Clemm (“Muddie”), Poe’s aunt and mother-in-law are here printed from the originals by the courtesy of James F. Drake, Esq., of New York City.

One — Written by Mrs. Clemm from the house of Mrs. Annie Richmond at Lowell, Massachusetts, on April 11, 1850, a few months after Poe’s death concerning the copyright on Poe’s Collected Works that Griswold had in possession to her undoing. The letter is to John Neal at Portland, Maine.

Two — This letter from Mrs. Clemm, written from the Church Home in Baltimore, on October 6, 1865, shows the pitiable state of her crippled hands, by the deranged script. It is written to Gabriel Harrison of New York, then at work on his portrait of Poe, and evidently in reply to a letter of his, written to her, asking for information as to the personal appearance of Poe as data for his portrait, based upon memory and a daguerreotype (last supplementary letter of Harrison to Mrs. Clemm to that of January 31, 1865, — see J. A. Harrison, vol. II, page 433-434).


Lowell, April 11th 1850


Will you pardon me for again intruding on your time, but the kindness you have evinced for me in your kind letters encourages me to do so. I have had a letter from New York, in which I have been asked if I would say what I would take for the copyright of my dear Eddie’s works, but at the same time requested not to mention to any of my friends that they have passed out of my hands. Do you think this would be right? Will you have the kindness to advise me how to act? I have written Mr. Willis on the subject, and will be entirely guided by his and your advice. I am told the work is selling very well, but have heard nothing from the publisher concerning it. I received the paper with your kind notice, and thank you most sincerely. Will Graham think you publish the other that you mentioned having written?

God bless you dear Mr. Neal, and believe me to be your grateful and sincere friend,



(To Gabriel Harrison)

Baltimore Oct. 6, ‘65


I have just received your most welcome letter for it has been so very long since I have heard from you. I am better again, and as soon as I am able I will comply with request, now I can scarcely write these few lines. No, I have not heard from Mr. Lewis or the press either. God help any poor soul that is obliged to ask a favor, altho I am just going to ask one of you, but I feel so sure if it is in your power you will grant it I want $5 or even three more than I ever did in my whole life, cannot you procure it for me somehow, oh if you could only know how much I am in need of it, you would try to send it to me, if possible write by return of mail. I am very sad to day for tomorrow is the anniversary [page 718:] of my darling Eddie’s death, please excuse this peice of paper I have no other and have not the means of getting it I am ever your true friend

(Maria Clemm)

Dr. J. J. Moran Items

The following letter from Dr. J. J. Moran who attended Poe on his death-bed in Baltimore, on October 7, 1849, is of interest as recording an interview with Mrs. A. B. Shelton (Elmira Royster), thirty-three years after Poe’s death. If the Doctor can be believed, Mrs. Shelton was still able to weep for Poe. This is quite possible, of course.

The point is here, however, that Dr. Moran was on one of his lecture trips in which he went about the country telling about the death of Poe. At every recital the “demise of our great poet” became more edifying. At this particular stage, a really beautiful and touching climax had been achieved. A comparison of this letter with the one which Dr. Moran wrote to Mrs. Clemm on November 15, 1849, provides an insight into the growth of a certain kind of Poe legend.

Falls Church Va Febry 27, 1882



Yours recd, did not reach me until I had returned from a lecture tour to Richmond, the home of his Annabel Lee, who yet lives, is near her three score and ten. Yet she was at the lecture, 32 years have intervened since his death, and she and I, met for the first time after that period, it was a meeting I shall never forget — so deeply were we impressed, that our tears could not be restrained — but to the question asked in reference to the slip of paper sent, I answer, it is correct in the main or chief part. The word rode, should be arched — his decrees legibly &c. he was in my hands 16 hours, and 15 out the 16, was rational and perfectly conscious — I have some hope of getting Boston soon to deliver my lecture have been written to for that purpose — have also a letter from G. W. Childs of Pha In haste as I have a great number of letters to answer

I remain yours  
Respectfully —  

(Courtesy of James P. Drake, Esq.)

(Report of one of Dr, Moran’s Garbled Lectures about Poe’s death)

Dr. J. J. Moran, of Falls Church, Va,, who was with Edgar Allan Poe in his dying hours, in a recent lecture said that the slander had been reiterated that Poe died while under the influence of liquor, and nothing could be further from the fact, Upon his arrival at the hospital the doctor questioned the hackman who brought him there, and he declared that Poe was not drunk, nor was there the smell of liquor about him when he led him into his vehicle, As Poe’s last hour approached, Dr, Moran said that he bent over him and asked if he had any word he wished communicated to his friends, Poe raised his fading eyes and answered ‘Nevermore,’ In a few moments he turned uneasily and moaned, ‘Oh God, is there no ransom for the deathless spirit?’ Continuing he said; ‘He who rode the heavens and upholds the universe has His decrees written on the frontlet of every human of the limbs, a faint sigh,’ and the spirit of Edgar Man Poe had passed the boundary line that divides time from eternity.’

(Courtesy of James P. Drake, Esq.)






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