Edgar Allan Poe — “To My Mother”


Reading and Reference Texts:

Reading copy:

  • “To My Mother” — reading copy


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)
  • 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.)



  • Sonnet — To My Mother” — August 8, 1849 — reprint, 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 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 (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” — 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]” — 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” — 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” — 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” — 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 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.)


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)


Comparative and Study Texts:

Instream Comparative and Study Texts:

  • None


Plain Text Files for Juxta:

  • None


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.
  • “A ma mère” — dated 2009, but available in late 2008 — Poèmes d‘Edgar Allan Poe, Paris: Publibook (translation by Jean Hautepierre)



  • 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.


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