The Herring copy of Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane and Minor Poems (1845)


Poe's personal copy of Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane and Minor Poems, with changes made in pencil. Poe's changes were made in preparation of The Raven and Other Poems, and may be dated as 1845. This copy is inscribed on a front fly leaf “For my cousing Elizabeth - [/] E. A. Poe.”

The poems in this edition are listed below, but only the texts with changes have a link:

  • “[Prefatory Material for ‘Al Aaraaf’]” (no changes, presumably because Poe did not intend to use any of this material in RAOP.)
  • “[Sonnet — To Science]”  (no changes)
  • Al Aaraaf - Parts I & II ”  (minor changes) (Poe made additional changes in this copy for his lecture in Boston, where he appears to have used the title “The Messenger Star”) (Study Text)
  • “[Prefatory Material for ‘Tamerlane’]” (no changes, presumably because Poe did not intend to use any of this material in RAOP.)
  • Tamerlane”   (No verbal changes, other than one questionable mark, which is indistinct and for which no change was used in RAOP, and a few minor change in formatting, in particular combining stanzas 19 and 20, which was followed. In RAOP, the stanzas are not numbered) (Study Text)
  • “[Prefatory Material for ‘Miscellaneous Poems’]” (no changes, presumably because Poe did not intend to use any of this material in RAOP.)
  • Preface [[Romance]]”   (new title, and other minor changes) (Study Text)
  • “To — — [‘Should my early life seem ...’]”   (no changes, full poem marked for omission, and not included in RAOP.)
  • To — — [‘I saw thee ....’ (Song)]”   (minor changes, and an “E,” apparently added as a typesetter's mark) (Study Text)
  • To — — [‘The bowers wheareat ...’ (To Elmira)]”   (minor changes) (Study Text)
  • To the River ——”   (minor changes, and a “P” added as a signature, or as a typesetter's mark) (Study Text)
  • “The Lake — To — [The Lake]”   (no changes)
  • “Spirits of the Dead”   (no changes)
  • “A Dream”   (no textual changes — poem marked for selection and a “P” added as a signature, or a typesetter's mark)
  • To M—— [‘I heed not ...’]”   (three stanzas marked for omission, no other changes) (Study Text)
  • Fairyland”   (minor changes) (Study Text)

Various markings appear to have been added by typesetters, for purely technical reasons. At the top of the first page of “Al Aaraaf” is written the two-part note “about 25 yr” and “other juvenalia 7/32.” At the beginning of the first stanza of the poem, the name “Richard” is written. The same name is written also at the top of page 17, and the bottom of pages 20 and 31, with a notes of, respectively, “59,”, “62,” and “68,”indicating the pagination for the poem as it would appear in RAOP. Two other page notations appear on pages 27 and 35, respectively “65” and “71” On the latter of these pages, the name “Moran” is given, presumably indicating a second typesetter working with the same material. For “Tamerlane,” the name of “Moran” appears near the top of page 43, with the page notation of “74,” and again at the top of page 49, with no page notation. The name of “Richard” appears at the top of page 47 (also as ”Ric”), with the page notation of “77” being given at about the middle of the page, and again at the top of page 53, with no page notation. One final page notation, with no name assigned, is given near the bottom of page 51 as “80.” (The text noted by these marks appears on the pages designated in RAOP.)On page 50, the stanza numbers for 14-16 are crossed out, presumably an indication that numbers were not to be numbered in the new edition, where ultimately they did appear without such numbering.



Bibliographic Data:

8vo. (8 in x 5 in). Pages [1]-71. (This copy has been damaged by smoke and heat, from the great Patteson, NJ fire of February 1902, while it was owned by William Nelson.)


Census of Copies:

There were many copies of the original volume, but this modified copy is unique. The provenance of this entry is established as authoritatively as possible, given the sketchy and often convoluted bits of information available:

  • Albert Berg Collection, New York Public Library (Originally Elizabeth Herring's copy. The date on the title page has been altered to 1820, probably by Poe.) (Herring; Poe; Griswold; George Henry Moore, Feb. 5, 1894, item 1934 (sold for $75); William Nelson of Patterson, NJ (sold at the auction of the collection of H. Peirce, May 5, 1903 for $1,825); Maier (purchased about 1905 from George H. Richmond (1849-1904), the dealer who bought it from the Nelson sale) (Maier's library was sold at auction on Nov. 16-17 and 22-23, 1909. The book is in part II of the sale, as item 1691. A photograph of the altered title page is used as the frontispiece for the catalog); Stephen H. Wakeman (1859-1924) (purchased November 25, 1909 for $2,900); unknown buyer, probably Owen D. Young, 1924, purchased for $2,900 the same price as Wakeman had paid) (according to the catalog for the Moore sale, the copy was unbound, and half-titles were provided from a second copy.) (Owen D. Young (1874-1962) acquired the book prior to 1933, when it was listed in the Poe Census by Heartman and Rede. Young was encouraged by Dr. Albert Aston Berg (1872-1950) to donate his collection to the NYPL on May 8, 1941, with Berg paying Owen half of the estimated value as part of the exchange.



  • 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. 119-120. (Volume 7 is edited and completed by Virginia L. Smyers and Michael Winship.) (This book is item 16146.)
  • Heartman, Charles F and James R. Canny, A Bibliography of First Printings of the Writings of Edgar Allan Poe, Hattiesburg, Mississippi, 1943, pp. 90-97. (Reprinted, Millwood, New York: Kraus Reprint Co., 1977.)
  • Mabbott, Thomas Ollive, “Bibliographical Note,” Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane and Minor Poems, New York: Columbia University Press, 1933 (a facsimile reproduction of Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane and Minor Poems)
  • Mabbott, Thomas Ollive, ed., The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe (Vol. 1 Poems), Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1969.


[S:0 - JAS] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Editions - Herring copy of Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane and Minor Poems (1845)