Text: Various, “Marginalia,” Poe Studies, December 1974, Vol. VII, No. 2, 7:47-48


[page 47, column 2, continued:]


This column is devoted to brief notes, comments, queries. we wish to provide here an outlet for such items as source notes which do not require the extended argument and proof that customarily attends them, and for items of very special or peculiar interest which otherwise might not appear. Contributions to this column should generally be one paragraph in form and less than a page and a half of typescript, though notes of three pages with as many paragraphs are acceptable.

A Poe Hoax Comes Before the U.S. Senate

The following paragraph along with its footnote on Poe’s ‘The Journal of Julius Rodman” may be found in U.S. Senate Document of the 26th Congress, 1st Session, Volume IV (1839-40), pages 140-141, entitled “Memoir, Historical and Political, on the Northwest Coast of North America, and the Adjacent Territories; Illustrated by a Map and a Geographical View of Those Countries. By Robert Greenhow, Translator and Librarian to the Department of State. February 10, 1840. Submitted by Mr. [Lewis F.] Linn, from the Select Committee on the Oregon Territory; and ordered to be printed, and that 2,500 additional copies be sent to the Senate. Washington: Blair and Rives, Printers. 1840.’

It is proper to notice here an account of an expedition across the American continent, made between 1791 and 1794, by a party of citizens of the United States, under the direction of Julius Rodman, whose journal has been recently discovered in Virginia, and is now in course of publication in a periodical magazine* at Philadelphia. The portion which has yet appeared relates only to the voyage of the adventurer[s] up the Missouri during the summer of 1791; and no idea is communicated of their route beyond that river, except in the Introduction by the editor, where it is stared that they traversed the region “west of the Rocky Mountains, and north of the 60th parallel, which is still marked upon our maps as unexplored, and which, until this day. has been always so considered.” From what has been published, it is impossible to form a definitive opinion as to the degree of credit which is due to the narrative, or as to the value of the statements, if they are true; and all that can be here said in addition is, that nothing as yet appears either in the journal or relating to it, calculated to excite suspicions with regard to its authenticity.

* Burton’s Magazine and American Monthly Review, edited by William E. Burton and Edgar A. Poe. Mr. Rodman’s journal is commenced in the number for January, 1840, and is continued in those for the next following months. [page 48:]

The distinguished author of this treatise for the U.S. Senate, Robert Greenhow (1800-1854), of whom a biographical sketch appears in the Dictionary of American Biography, was a native of Richmond, Virginia, and contributed “Sketches of the History and Present Condition of Tripoli, with Some Accounts of the Other Barbary States” to the Southern Literary Messenger, from November 1834 to October 1836. He must have either met or corresponded with Poe during their Messenger days. (A James Greenhow, probably a relative of Robert, was a schoolmate of Poe who participated with him in amateur theatricals, according to Colonel Thomas H. Ellis)

Robert Greenhow’s acceptance of “Julius Rodman” as a factual and not a fictional account of a journey of exploration apparently led to an unintentional hoax of the U.S. Senate and attests to Poe’s contemporary success in imparting verisimilitude to his fictional narrative If Poe saw Greenhow’s account, he must have been highly amused. Four years later the “Memoir,” rewritten, “corrected,” and enlarged by Greenhow, appeared in book form as The History of Oregon and California and Other Territories on the North-West Coast of North America. Omission of the reference to “Julius Rodman” in the second edition of The History leads one to conclude that Greenhow eventually discovered the truth.

David K. Jackson, Durham, North Carolina


A Further Word on Poe and Alexander Crane

There is need for some clarification of the record of Alexander Crane’s acquaintance with Poe during Crane’s approximately one year of service as office boy on the Broadway Journal. The major record of his reminiscences is an interview which appeared in the Omaha Sunday World-Herald for July 13, 1902. A later interview with similar information was published in the same paper on August 6, 1911. Citations to the World-Herald differ because scholars appear to have been unaware that Crane gave more than one interview to that paper. George Woodberry, Hervey Allen and Arthur Quinn cite only the first interview while Mary Phillips and Thomas Ollive Mabbott list only the second. [See Woodberry, The Life of Edgar Allan Poe ( rpt. New York: Biblo and Tannen, 1965), II, 121, 136, 140; Allen, Israfel: The Life and Times of Edgar Allan Poe ( New York: George Doran, 1927), II, 639; Quinn, Edgar Allan Poe (New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1941), pp. 456, 458, Wagenknecht, Edgar Allan Poe, The Man Behind the Legend (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1963), p. 79; Phillips, Edgar Allan Poe, The Man (Philadelphia: John C. Winston, 1926), II, 1001-1003, 1636, Mabbott, ed., Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe, I (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press, 1969), 491.]

The first World-Herald article is the main record of Crane’s reminiscences and has been reprinted in Poe Studies for December 1973. To my knowledge, the earliest notable reference to this work is the summary in the London Academy [63 (September 1902), 280]. There are a few references to other sources said to contain additional Crane reminiscences of Poe, but my investigation therein has revealed no further information. Mabbott [p. 491] lists a letter in the New York Tribune of January 30, 1880, and an article in the Book-Lover for November-December 1901. The former does not appear in the issue cited and the latter (annually published in the November-December issue of 1902) is only a reprint of the Academy article, with no acknowledgment of the source. Nathan Fagin lists an interview in the World-Herald for July 19, 1902, but his July 19 must be a misprint for July 13 for there is no interview of Crane in the issue for the former date. His reference to an alleged article by Crane in the New York Times Review for November 27, 1909, is based on an erroneous reference by Phillips [II, 16:.6, n.52. Fagin’s references are in The Histrionic Mr. Poe (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 1949), p. 259].

Although there are some noteworthy variations, the two World-Herald interviews are remarkably similar despite Crane’s eighty-two years of age by 1911. In the later article Crane indicates that the demise of the Broadway Journal marked the end of [column 2:] his acquaintance with Poe; thus his personal knowledge of the author is based on about a year’s observation. In the earlier interview he claims to have seen Poe “intoxicated with wine,” but in the second he declares that on that occasion Poe was only “slightly under the influence of the wine.” In both, he erroneously claims that “The Raven” was published first in the Broadway Journal and ascribes to Poe a revision in the final line of his temperance poem published in the Youth’s Cabinet of May 1, 1845. The alleged revision does not appear in the Youth’s Cabinet version. Perhaps, as Mabbott suggests, Crane’s remembered version is the one from which the change was made. [For Crane’s poem in the Youth’s Cabinet, I have relied on Mabbott’s reprinting (p. 492). All of Crane’s reminiscences have been investigated in the sources mentioned. Articles failing to appear at the point cited I have sought under other likely dates.]

Mukhtar Ali Isani, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


Taine on Poe: Additions and Corrections

The article by Thomas H. Goetz on Taine and Poe in the December 1973 issue contains several errors which the editors of Poe Studies will surely not wish to leave uncorrected. Some of these errors are relatively innocuous. For example, in the first note on page 36, Lemonnier’s name is misspelled and the page reference to Porche’s book should read 405. (Mr. Goetz was not using the 1944 edition, ac he thought, but the 1967 reprinting.) In note 11, Mr. Goetz says there is no mention of Taine’s reference to Flaubert in the latter’s Correspondance in nine volumes; he is apparently unaware that there exists a four-volume supplement to this edition. Mr. Goetz also seems unaware that Taine mentioned Poe in a favorable context in a review published in the Journal des Debats as early as 15 November 1858.

But the major error committed by Mr. Goetz concerns Baudelaire’s letter of 6 October 1863. This letter was not addressed to Taine, as Mr. Goetz states, it is therefore not relevant to the subject of the article. This error might have been avoided if Mr. Goetz had not relied on an ancient and discredited article by Feli Gautier but had consulted instead Jacques Crepet’s monumental critical edition of Baudelaire’s works, in particular Volume IV of the Correspondance generale [Paris: Conard, 1948, p. 192] or the volume containing Baudelaire’s translation of Essreka [Paris: Conard, 1936, pp. 240-244], where Crepet showed conclusively that the letter of 6 October 1863 was addressed toJacques Babinet, the well-known physicist and astronomer.

It goes without saying that the latest edition of Baudelaire’s correspondence, edited by Claude Pichois [Paris: Gallimard, 1973, II, 322 and 825-826], which was unavailable to Mr. Goetz when he was writing his article, also names Babinet as the addressee of the letter in question.

W. T. Bandy, Vanderbilt University





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