Edgar Allan Poe — “To My Mother”


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Reading and Reference Texts:

Reading copy:

  • “To My Mother” — reading copy

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Historical Texts:

Manuscripts and Authorized Printings:

  • Text-01 — “Sonnet — To My Mother” — about April, 1849, no original manuscript or fragments are known to exist (but this version is presumably recorded in Text-02) (In a letter to Annie Richmond, tentatively assigned a date of after May 5, 1849, Poe mentions that the Flag of Our Union still had two of his manuscripts, naming “A Sonnet to my Mother” as one, and “Landor’s Cottage” as the other.)
  • Text-02 — “Sonnet — To My Mother” — July 7, 1849 — Flag of Our Union — (Mabbott text A)
  • Text-03 — “To My Mother” — 1850 — WORKS — (Mabbott text B)  (This is Mabbott’s first copy-text for the poem) (although printed later than Leaflets of Memory for 1850, this version appears to be an earlier revision)
  • Text-04 — “Sonnet to My Mother” — 1849 — Leaflets of Memory for 1850 — Philadelphia: E. H. Butler & Co. (edited by Reynell Coates, M.D.) (Mabbott text C)  (This is Mabbott’s second copy-text for the poem) (an “annual” for 1850 would have been printed and sold in 1849, and is reviewed in the Literary World for November 17, 1849, see below. Although issued before WORKS, this appears to be a more fully revised version, probably arranged by Poe before his death but unknown to Griswold.)

 

Reprints:

  • Sonnet — To My Mother” — August 8, 1849 — Oquawka Spectator  (noted as copied from the Flag of Our Union)
  • Sonnet to My Mother” — about September 1849 — Richmond Examiner proof sheets  (H&C give a publication date as October 29, 1849, but apparently in error. Stovall searched the files of the Examiner carefully, and found no printing of the sonnet. It is presumed that Whitty saw F. W. Thomas’ transcription of the poem from the Examiner proof sheets. According to Whitty, the text matched that printed in the Southern Literary Messenger, which was itself a reprinting of the poem from Leaflets of Memory for 1850.)
  • “To My Mother” — November 17, 1849 — Literary World, vol. V, no. 20, p. 424, col. 1  (reprinted from “C”)
  • “To My Mother” — December 14, 1849 — Port Gibson Herald and Correspondent (Port Gibson, Mississippi), vol. 8, no. 16, p. 1 col. 3 (acknowledged as by “Edgar A. Poe.”) (with several significant typographical errors) (This entry provided by Ton Fafianie in an e-mail to the Poe Society dated February 21, 2018)
  • “To My Mother” — December 7, 1849 — Herald (New York)
  • “Sonnet — To My Mother” — December 8, 1849 — Brooklyn Daily Eagle (New York), vol. VIII, no. 289, p. 1, col. 1 (acknowledged as by “Edgar A. Poe,” and reprinted from Herald)
  • To My Mother” — December 1849 — reprint with minor prefatory material, Sartain’s
  • “Sonnet to My Mother” — December 1849 — Southern Literary Messenger (printed with some brief introduction and commentary to encourage financial support for Mrs. Clemm)
  • “To My Mother” — November 24, 1849 — Home Journal
  • “[To My Mother]” — November 29, 1849 — Oneida Morning Herald (Utica, NY), vol. III, no. 25, p. 2, col. 1 (reprinted from Home Journal as part of an entry called “Edgar Poe.”)
  • “Sonnet — To My Mother” — March 30, 1850 — Daily Morning Post (Pittsburgh, PA), vol. VIII, no. 213, p. 2, col. 4 (acknowledged as by “Edgar A. Poe,”)
  • “To My Mother” — April 1850 — Sartain’s, p. 312
  • “To My Mother” — July 1853 — Dublin University Magazine vol. XLII, whole no. 247, pp. 88-104 (printed as part of an article called “Poe and Poetry” by Alexander Smith)
  • “To My Mother” — 1853 — Southern Eclectic (printed as part of a short article on Poe, excerpted from the Dublin University Magazine)
  • “To My Mother” — February 28, 1858 — Shippensburg News, vol. XIII, no. 36, whole no. 660, p. 1, col. 4 (acknowledged as by “Edgar Allen [[Allan]] Poe.”)
  • [To My Mother]” — October 30, 1858 — Home Journal (included in a “letter” about Poe by N. P. Willis.)
  • “To My Mother” — 1864 — Weekly Standard (Raleigh, NC), vol. XXX, no. 23, p. 4, col. 3 (reprinted from the Southern Eclectic
  • “To My Mother” — 1865 — The Poetical Works of Edgar Allan Poe, ed. James Hannay, London: Charles Griffin and Co., p. 4 (a revision of editions by the same editor and various publishers, printed as early as 1853. In this text for the poem, Hannay has altered “infinity” to “affinity,” in the next to last line, without explanation. This alteration was reprinted in an 1868 Australian edition of Poe’s poems, and in at least one newspaper: Middletown Daily Herald (Middletown, NY), vol. LII, no. 260, p. 4, col. 2. The alteration has not been sanctioned in most scholarly editions.)
  • “To My Mother” —December 2, 1867 — Daily Evening Telegraph (Philadelphia, PA), vol. VIII, no. 131, p. 7, col. 1 (acknowledged as by “Edgar Allan Poe”)
  • “To My Mother” — February 24, 1871 — Eastern State Journal (White Plains, NY), vol. XXVI, no. 44, p. 3, col. 1 (printed as part of a short obituary for Mrs. Clemm)
  • “To My Mother” — March 7, 1871 — Evening Courier and Republic (Buffalo, NY), vol. XI, no. 55, p. 1, col. 7
  • “To My Mother” — March 10, 1871 — Utica Daily Observer (Utica, NY), vol. XIII, no. 269, p. 4, col. 1
  • To My Mother” — 1875 — The Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol 3: Poems  and Essays, ed. J. H. Ingram, Edinburgh, Adam and Charles Black (3:25)
  • “[To My Mother]” — July 31, 1878 — Morristown Gazette (Morristown, TN), vol. 12, no. 20, p. 2, col. 5 (printed with the brief introductory note: “The following beautiful lines, by Edgar A. Poe, addressed to Mrs. Clemm, the mother of his sainted ‘Virginia,’ are not only human in their pathos, but almost divine in their tenderness and beauty.”)
  • “To My Mother” — October 23, 1880 — Ottawa Free Trader (Ottawa, IL), vol. 41, no. 13, p. 6, col. 1 (acknowledged simply as by “Poe.”)
  • “[To My Mother]” — January 3, 1883 — Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), (no volume number given), whole no. 13,967, p. 5, col. 3 (printed as part of a long review of Ingram’s edition)
  • “To My Mother” — May 27, 1883 — Truth (New York, NY), vol. 4, whole no. 1258, p. 2, col. 5 (part of a short article on “Poe’s Mother-in-Law”)
  • “To My Mother” — March 3, 1888 — Washington Critic (Washington, DC), vol. 20, whole no. 6,104, p. 7, col. 4 (printed at the end of a article about Mrs. Clemm, reprinted from Sartain’s Magazine)
  • “To My Mother” — February 28, 1893 — Troy Daily Times (Troy, NY), vol. XLII, no. 208, p. 3, col. 2 (printed with the brief introductory note “Screeds about the mother-in-law are too often humorous or sarcastic. But the tribute which the poet Poe paid to the mother of his dead wife Virginia is neither. This faithful woman lies beneath the monument which also covers the poet’s remains. In her life she appreciated his genis, and in his hours of need went from publisher to publisher begging aid and pleading that he was ill and suffering. And these are the beautiful and tender lines that he wrote ‘To My Mother’.”)
  • “To My Mother” — February 26, 1896 — New York Times (New York, NY), vol. XLII, whole no. 12,951, p. 10, col. 3 (printed as part of an article about Poe’s burial)
  • “[To My Mother]” — November 12, 1896 — Buffalo Evening News (Buffalo, NY), vol. XXXIII, no. 29, p. 3, col. 3 (printed without title, and with the brief introductory comment: “Poe had his faults and they were serious ones, but when it came to mothers-in-law he was above criticism. Here are the lines which Poe addressed to his wife’s mother.”)
  • “[To My Mother]” — June 22, 1897 — Times-Democrat (New Orleans, LA), vol. XXXIV, whole no. 14,622, p. 12, col. 2 (printed without title, and with the brief introductory comment: “The Boston Transcript reminds one that the much-abused mother-in-law had her ablest and most fervent champion in Edgar Allen [[Allan]] Poe. His sonnet is addressed ‘To My Mother,’ and was such a tribute to Mrs. Clemm, that it seems eminently fitting that on her death, over twenty years after the poet, she should have been buried by his side. Hearken.”)
  • “[To My Mother]” — July 9, 1897 — Semi-Weekly Times-Democrat (New Orleans, LA), vol. III, no. 218, p. 5, col. 6 (printed without title, and with the brief introductory comment: “The Boston Transcript reminds one that the much-abused mother-in-law had her ablest and most fervent champion in Edgar Allen [[Allan]] Poe. His sonnet is addressed ‘To My Mother,’ and was such a tribute to Mrs. Clemm, that it seems eminently fitting that on her death, over twenty years after the poet, she should have been buried by his side. Hearken.”)
  • “[To My Mother]” — July 12, 1897 — Philadelphia Times (Philadelphia, PA), (no volume number given), whole no. 7,960, p. 4, col. 7 (acknowledged as “Edgar A. Poe to Mrs. Clemm, his mother-in-law.”)
  • “To My Mother” — August 17, 1897 — Buffalo Enquirer (Buffalo, NY), vol. 53, no. 116, p. 3, col. 1 (acknowledged as “Edgar A. Poe to Mrs. Clemm, his mother-in-law.”)
  • “To My Mother” — October 16, 1905 — Baltimore Sun (Baltimore, MD), vol. CXXXCII, no. 153, p. 7, bottom of cols. 5-6 (printed as part of the series “Gems from the Poets,” with Poe’s name misspelled “Edgar Allen Poe” in the byline, but correctly in the short (rather overly laudatory) introductory note: “Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849), the greatest poet America has produced, was distinguished not only by his poetic imagiantion and skill in versification, but as the creator of the short story, of the treasure story, of the detective story and of teh story based on new conceptions of science. Nearly everyone [[every one]] of his poems is in a distinctive rhythm of his own invention. So also his stories — they have a distinctive character and are the forerunners of new species of literary composition. R. L. Stevenson, in his ‘Treasure Island;’ Conan Doyle, in his Sherlock Holmes stories; Jules Verne, in his scientific stories, and the thousand present authors of short stories are imitators of Poe’s prose writings. His poems have not been imitated, because an imitation would at once be deemed a theft of what Poe had made his own. The following poem, which is full of feeling, is addressed to the mother of Poe’s wife.”)
  • “To a Mother-in-law” — October 2, 1907 — News and Observer (Raleigh, NC), vol. LXXXIV, no. 120, p. 6, col. 1 (printed with the brief introductory note: “Traditions concerning mother-in-laws are rather repudiated by the following poem inscribed by the poet, Edgar Allen [[Allan]] Poe, to his wife’s mother, Mrs. Clemm.”)
  • “To My Mother” — October 16, 1910 — Baltimore Sun (Baltimore, MD), vol. CXLVII, no. 153, p. 12, cols. 7-8 (printed as part of an article about the discovery of a file of the Flag of Our Union, although mis-stated as being from 1847 rather than 1849, but with the correct year for the individual poems. The article implies that a new edition of the “Virginia Poe” edition was being planned by the publishers, although no new edition appeared.)
  • “To My Mother” — November 17, 1924 — Altoon Tribune (Altoona, PA), (no volume number given), whole no. 14,797, p. 6, col. 6 (acknowledged as by “Edgar Allan Poe,” and printed in a section called “A Poem a Day, Original and Otherwise.”)
  • “To My Mother” — July 13, 1925 — Decatur Herald (Decatur, IL), vol. 44 (no issue number given), p. 6, col. 3 (acknowledged as by “Edgar Allen [[Allan]] Poe,” and printed in a section called “Poems that Live.”)
  • “To My Mother” — January 16, 1926 — Cortland Standard (Cortland, NY), (no volume or issue number given), p. 4, col. 5 (acknowledged as by “Edgar Allen [[Allan]] Poe,” and printed in a section called “Poems that Live.”)
  • “To My Mother” — January 16, 1926 — Altoon Tribune (Altoona, PA), (no volume number given), whole no. 16,125, p. 6, col. 3 (acknowledged as by “Edgar Allen [[Allan]] Poe,” and printed in a section called “A Poem a Day, Original and Otherwise.”)
  • “To My Mother” — January 17, 1926 — Sedalia Democrat (Sedalia, Missouri), vol. 19, no. 14, p. 14, col. 3 (acknowledged as by “Edgar Allan Poe,” and printed in a section called “Poems that Live.”)
  • “To My Mother” — January 18, 1926 — Binghamton Press and Leader (Binghamton, NY), (no volume or issue number given), p. 6, col. 7 (acknowledged as by “Edgar Allan Poe,” and printed in a section called “Poems that Live.”)
  • “To My Mother” — January 19, 1926 — Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, WI), vol. 59 (no issue number given), p. 8, col. 6 (acknowledged as by “Edgar Allan Poe,” and printed in a section called “Poems that Live.”)
  • “To My Mother” — January 20, 1926 — Eau Claire Leader (Eau Claire, Wisconsin), vol. XLVI, no. 17, p. 10, col. 5 (acknowledged as by “Edgar Allan Poe,” and printed in a section called “Poems that Live.”)
  • “To My Mother” — January 22, 1926 — Sedalia Weekly Democrat (Secalia, Missouri), vol. 54, no. 4, p. 4, col. 8 (acknowledged as by “Edgar Allan Poe,” and printed in a section called “Poems that Live.”)
  • “To My Mother” — January 27, 1926 — Anaconda Standard (Anaconda, Montana), vol. XXXVII, no. 146, p. 4, col. 5 (acknowledged as by “Edgar Allan Poe,” and printed in a section called “Poems that Live.”)

 

Scholarly and Noteworthy Reprints:

  • To My Mother” — 1894-1895 — The Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol. 10: Poems, ed. E. C. Stedman and G. E. Woodberry, Chicago: Stone and Kimball (10:94, and 10:195)
  • To My Mother” — 1902 — The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol. 7: Poems, ed. J. A. Harrison, New York: T. Y. Crowell (10:116, and 10:218)
  • Sonnet — To My Mother” — 1911 — The Complete Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, ed. J. H. Whitty, Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Co. (p. 78, and pp. 241-242)
  • To My Mother” — 1917 — The Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, ed. Killis Campbell, Boston: Ginn and Company (p. 133, and pp. 291-293)
  • “To My Mother” — 1965 — The Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, ed. Floyd Stovall, Charlottesville: The University Press of Virginia (p. 123, and pp. 286-287)
  • To My Mother” — 1969 — The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol. 1: Poems, ed. T. O. Mabbott, Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press (1:465-468)  (Mabbott prints two versions of the poem)
  • “To My Mother” — 1984 — Edgar Allan Poe: Poetry and Tales, ed. Patrick F. Quinn (New York: Library of America) (pp. 101-102) (reprints the text from Works, 1850)

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Comparative and Study Texts:

Instream Comparative and Study Texts:

  • None

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Associated Material and Special Versions:

Miscellaneous Texts and Related Items:

  • “To My Mother” — 1930s — In the 1930s, a number of companies manufactured Mother’s Day plaques using the first stanza of Poe’s poem.
  • “My Grandmother” — April 12, 1969 — Progress-Index (Petersburg, VA), vol. 104, no. 280, p. 4, col. 5 (a poem apparently submitted as original by James R. Bassette III, but which is nothing other than Poe’s poem, entirely without source or credit)
  • “A ma mère” — dated 2009, but available in late 2008 — Poèmes d‘Edgar Allan Poe, Paris: Publibook (translation by Jean Hautepierre)

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Bibliography:

  • Heartman, Charles F. and James R. Canny, A Bibliography of First Printings of the Writings of Edgar Allan Poe, Hattiesburg, MS: The Book Farm, 1943.
  • Mabbott, Thomas Ollive, ed., The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe (Vol 1 Poems), Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1969.

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[S:0 - JAS] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Poems - To My Mother