Text: Edgar Allan Poe to Nathaniel P. Willis — May 21, 1844 (LTR-174a)


New-York - May 21.

My Dear Mr. Willis,

Seeing that you, now and then, published Original Papers in the “New Mirror”, I have ventured to send you a Tale and an Essay for consideration. If you could afford me anything for them, or for either of them, I would feel highly honored by their appearance in your paper.

I have long been exceedingly anxious to make the acquaintance of the author of “Melanie”, and, more especially, of a little poem entitled “Unseen Spirits”, and would have called upon you personally but that I am ill in health and wretchedly depressed in spirits. By and bye I will try and find you at the office of the “Mirror.”

Will you please reply, at your leisure, through the P. Office? Should you not be able to accept the articles, I would be obliged if you would retain them until I see you.

Yours with the highest respect,
Edgar A. Poe.

N. P. Willis, Esqre



The letter is addressed to: “N. P. Willis Esqre. Office of the ‘New-Mirror” New-York”. Poe has underlined “New-York - May 21.” with a simple, single line and “N. P. Willis, Esqre” and “Edgar A. Poe” with quick double-lines, each meeting at the right ends as if forming two edges of a narrow, upside-down triangle.

No tale or poem by Poe appeared in the New Mirror after 1843. By October 1844, the New Mirror became the Evening Mirror and Weekly Mirror and Poe briefly became a sub-editor. Poe’s May 29, 1844 letter to Sarah J. Hale, offering her one of the same items for The Opal for 1845, identifies the tale as “The Oblong Box,” which subsequently appeared in Godey’s Lady’s Book for September 1844. The poem may have been “Dream-land,” the only original poem published that same year, it appearing in Graham’s Magazine for June 1844. (Clearly Willis responded quickly, and Poe may have been able to send the poem to Graham in time for the June issue. That he did not offer the poem as well to Mrs. Hale may suggest that he had already found someone, Graham, to take it.) Another possiblity is the poem “Eulalie,” which was written in 1844, although not published until July 1845, in the American Review. T. O. Mabbott thought that “Eulalie” was partly inspired by three items which appeared in the New Mirror for October 14, 1843, establishing an immediate connection between the poem and the New Mirror, (Poems, 1969, p. 347).


[S:0 - MS, 18xx] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Letters - Poe to N. P. Willis (LTR174a/RCL479b)