Edgar Allan Poe — “To Miss Louise Olivia Hunter”


This slight poem has been publicly known since 1932, and was accepted by Thomas Ollive Mabbott as a genuine composition by Poe. Ton Fafianie, however, conclusively documented in 2012 that the poem is actually something Poe has borrowed from William Gilmore Simms. The manuscript of this poem is clearly in Poe’ hand, and his reasons for adapting the poem are not certain, although an original composition would not have been required for the occasion of a private valentine. The request for a valentine most likely came from Mrs. Osgood, who may have hoped that it would help to lighten Poe's mood amid a time of growing troubles. Because Mrs. Osgood was a close friend, Poe may have felt some obligation to comply, even if the recent death of Virginia prevented him from finding the inspiration to write a new poem. Whatever the precise circumstances, Poe has merely adapted a poem by someone else; this item, therefore, has now been reclassified as rejected.


Historical Texts:

Manuscripts and Authorized Printings:



  • “To Miss Louise Olivia Hunter” — February 14, 1932 — New York Times (section 2, p. N3) (The poem is given as a black and white facsimile, showing the ornate paper as well as Poe's writing.) (Mabbott, Poems, 1969, incorrectly cites the date as Feb. 21, 1932, which is instead the date on which the NY Times printed two letters about Miss Hunter, see bibliography, below.)
  • “[To Miss Louise Olivia Hunter]” — June 5, 1933 — Exhibition of Historic Love Letters, New York: The Rosnbach Company (A. S. W. Rosenbach), p. xvi (the poem is quoted in the introduction to the exhibit)
  • “To Miss Louise Olivia Hunter” — Autumn 1935 — Sydney R. McLean, “Poeana: I. A Valentine,” Colophon (ns 1:183-187, with a facsimile on 1:185)
  • “[To Miss Louise Olivia Hunter]” — January 24, 1945 — Parke-Bernet Galleries (New York), auction catalog of Frank. J. Hogan (Francis Joseph Hogan), item 563 (The MS was sold to Wm. H. Koester for $3,900)
  • “To Miss Louise Olivia Hunter” — 2006 — Entire Tales & Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, ed. Andrew Barger, Memphis, TN: Botletree Books LLC, p. 685 (This book was reprinted as a paperback by the same publisher in 2008, under the title Edgar Allan Poe: Annotated and Illustrated Entire Stories and Poems, and as a separate edition of Edgar Allan Poe: Annotated Poems)


Scholarly and Noteworthy Reprints:

  • To Miss Louise Olivia Hunter” — 1969 — The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol. I: Poems, ed. Thomas Ollive Mabbott, Cambridge: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press (1:396-399)
  • “To Miss Louise Olivia Hunter” — 1984 — Edgar Allan Poe: Poetry and Tales, ed. Patrick F. Quinn (New York: Library of America) (p. 87) (reprints the text from Mabbott, 1969)


Comparative and Study Texts:

Instream Comparative and Study Texts:

  • None


Associated Material and Special Versions:

Miscellaneous Texts and Related Items:

  • None.



  • Anonymous, “Poe's Valentine,” Commonweal, March 2, 1932, 15:481 (This article is a very slight item, commenting on the recent discovery of the manuscript. All of the material is presumably derrived from the New York Times articles.)
  • Bebus, J. Welterle, [Letter to the Editor], New York Times, February 21, 1932, section 3, p. 2E (The letter is dated “New York, February 15, 1932.”) (J. W. Bebus claims to have known Miss Hunter in the 1890's and to have seen the manuscript in her possession.)
  • Fafianie, Ton, “Poe's Purloined Poem: ‘To Miss Louise Olivia Hunter’,” Simms Review, vol. 19, Nos. 1/2 (Summer/ Winter 2011) 19:18-44. (This article establishes the previously unrecognized source of the poem, a poem actually written by William Gilmore Simms.)
  • Mabbott, Thomas Ollive, ed., The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe (Vol 1 Poems), Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1969.
  • Marston, Elisabeth C., [Letter to the Editor], New York Times, February 21, 1932, section 3, p. 2E (The letter is dated “New York, February 15, 1932.”) (E. C. Marston claims that she was a relative of Miss Hunter, who wrote for various magazines “under the name of Lilla Herbert.”.)
  • McLean, Sydney R., “Poeana: I. A Valentine,” Colophon, Autumn 1935, ns 1:183-187


[S:0 - JAS] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Poems - To Miss Louise Olivia Hunter