Text: Edgar Allan Poe to Joseph L. Chester — January 10, 1846 (LTR-223a)


New York, Jan. 10, 1846.

My dear Sir:

Your very kind and flattering letter of December the eleventh is now lying before me and I seize a moment of leisure to return you my acknowledgments.

Under your nom de plume of ‘Julian Cramer’ I have known you long and more than once spoke, editorially, on your behalf. Of course, I am profoundly gratified in finding so warm a friend in one whom I so truly respect and admire.

Very sincerely yours,
Edgar A. Poe

Joseph L. Chester, Esqr.



This letter to Joseph Lemuel Chester (1821-1882) was apparently unknown to Ostrom, although it had been printed in a dealer's sale catalogue in 1924. If he considered it suspicious, he left no note to that effect in his edition of Poe's letters. The text is taken from the typescript given in “The Autograph Bulletin” (published monthly by Thomas F. Madigan), January 1924, item 99. There it is described as “POE, Edgar Allan. Celebrated American Author and Poet. A. L. S. 1 full page, 8vo. New York, Jan. 10, 1846. To Joseph L. Chester. $125.00. A beautiful specimen of the rare and desirable autograph of the author of ‘The Raven,’ on Poe's private monogram stationery.” No facsimile is presented in the catalogue, and the current location of the manuscript is unknown, making it impossible to evaluate the authenticity of this item by an examination of the handwriting. There is, however, good reason to accept the letter as genuine. Chester was an obscure literary figure, probably too obscure to be selected by a forger for such a letter. He is not mentioned in any biography of Poe or collection of Poe's works. In spite of this obscurity, there is a certain connection between Poe and Chester, although it does not specifically mention a letter. One item on Poe's list of subscribers gives, “Jos. L. Chester — ‘Julian Cramer’ — Wm. Goodrich & Co. 88 Market St. Phil.” The comment that Poe had spoken “editorially” on behalf of Chester, prior to 1846, is tantalizing since no such notice appears to be known. Chester's one book of poetry seems to be Greenwood Cemetery and Other Poems (New York and Boston: Saxon and Miles, 1843). Given this date, the most likely place for such a review by Poe would be The New York Mirror, his own Broadway Journal (which would be after 1844) or possibly the Saturday Museum (Philadelphia). It is also possible that Chester was given a slight mention in a longer notice for a magazine or gift book to which he had contributed.


[S:0 - MS, 18xx] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Letters - Poe to J. L. Chester (LTR223a/RCL608a)