Text: J. W. Ostrom, B. R. Pollin, and J. A. Savoye, “Chapter 07,” The Collected Letters of Edgar Allan Poe — Vol. I: 1824-1845 (2008), pp. 483-546 (This material is protected by copyright)


[page 483, unnumbered:]



Era of the Broadway Journal

Letter 192-221a: February 1845-December 1845

[page 485:]

Letter 192 — 1845, February 3 [CL-521] Poe (New York, NY) to John A. Shea (New York, NY):

Dear Shea,

Lest I should have made some mistake in the hurry I transcribe the whole alteration.

Instead of the whole stanza commencing “Wondering at the stillness broken &c — substitute this

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,

“Doubtless”, said I, “what it utters is its only stock and store

Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster

Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore —

Till the dirges of his Hope the melancholy burden bore,

‘Nevermore — ah, nevermore!”’

At the close of the stanza preceding this, instead of “Quoth the raven Nevermore”, substitute “Then the bird said “Nevermore”.

Truly yours


Note: John Augustus Shea (1802-1845) was connected with the New-York Daily Tribune (see Campbell, Poems, p. 248), which reprinted “The Raven” on February 4, 1845, incorporating Poe's requested changes (see TOM [RAOP], pp. xxv-xxvi). Poe's famous poem was widely carried in periodicals of the day, both with and without the expressed permission of the author. For Poe's friendship with Shea see Phillips, 2:938-939; H [Works], 1:218-219; and especially TOM [Poems], 1:170, n. to ll. 1:9-10, 1:362, and 1:542. According to an obituary notice in the August 16, 1845 Tribune, Shea died at age 42. For successive alterations in “The Raven,” including this one, see TOM [Poems], 1:363-374.

Source: photocopy of the original MS (1 p.) in the Morgan Library. The year is certainly 1845; the month date probably February 3, since the corrected lines were used in the New York Tribune for February 4. The letter was not mailed but delivered by hand; on the cover appears: “J. Augustus Shea Esqr / To be delivered as soon as he comes in.” [page 486:]

Letter 192a — 1845, February 18 [CL-523a] Poe (New York, NY) to Evert A. Duyckinck (New York, NY):

My Dear Sir,

I have the honor to leave for you, with Mr Mathews, a few of my stories, selected from about sixty, as having the best chance of popularity

Very truly yours

Edgar A Poe.

E. A. Duyckinck Esq.

N. York, Feb. 18. 45

Note: Evert Augustus Duyckinck (1816-1878) and Cornelius Mathews had edited Arcturus, December 1840-May 1842, in New York (American Magazines, 1:711). It was probably through Mathews that Poe became acquainted with Duyckinck (see LTR-172). As a prominent editor and a frequent contributor to various periodicals of the day, Duyckinck was well connected in the literary world, and would serve as a very useful contact for Poe. The present letter concerns preparation for the 1845 collection of Poe's Tales, printed in June as the second volume in Wiley & Putnam's Library of American Books. Although it did achieve some popularity, Poe was disappointed in the final selection (see LTR-240). The somewhat ornate appearance of the letter suggests that Poe was intently aware of the importance of his correspondent.

Source: color photograph of the original MS (1 p.) owned by Bauman Rare Books and Peter L. Stern Books. The note is written on a half sheet of blue, lined paper. The verso is blank, and there is no address sheet. Instead, as suggested by the opening sentence, the letter was delivered by hand. The signature appears to be the model for the woodcut version reproduced in Duyckinck's Cyclopedia of American Literature (1856, 2:537), its most distinctive features being the downward curving paraph and last name, and the strangely pointed “o” in “Poe.” Although the letter itself was unknown until it appeared for sale in 2006, the signature has achieved a certain amount of fame for being reproduced as part of the frontispiece in many editions of Poe's poetry and as a gilt ornament on the front cover of various collections of his works. There is some evidence that the page was at some point pasted down to another piece of paper, perhaps tipped into a book. Although it lacks a provenance, the paper, ink, contents, and handwriting all attest to its authenticity. [page 487:]

Letter 193 — 1845, February 24 [CL-524] Poe (New York, NY) to Rufus W. Griswold (Philadelphia, PA):

New-York, Feb. 24, 1845.

My Dear Griswold,

Soon after seeing you I sent you, through Zeiber, [sic] all my poems worth re-publishing, & I presume they reached you. With this I send you another package, also through Zeiber, [sic] by Burgess & Stringer. It contains in the way of Essay “Mesmeric Revelation” which I would like to go in, even if something else is omitted. I send also a portion of the “Marginalia”, in which I have marked some of the most pointed passages. In the matter of criticism I cannot put my hand upon anything that suits me — but I believe that in “funny” criticism (if you wish any such) Flaccus will convey a tolerable idea of my style, and of my serious manner Barnaby Rudge is a good specimen. In “Graham” you will find these. In the tale line I send you “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” and “The Man that was used up” — far more than enough, you will say — but you can select to suit yourself. I would prefer having in the “Gold Bug” to the “Murders in the R.M”, but have not a copy just now. If there is no immediate hurry for it, however, I will get one & send it you corrected. Please write & let me know if you get this. — I have taken a 3d interest in the “Broadway Journal” & will be glad if you could send me anything, at any time, in the way of “Literary Intelligence”.

Truly yours,


Note: Early in 1845, Griswold was preparing the sixth edition of his Poets and Poetry of America, published later in the year (Neu, “Rufus Wilmot Griswold,” p. 133). Griswold's January 14 letter to Poe (CL-516) mentions the preparations for Prose Writers of America (Philadelphia: Carey & Hart, March 3, 1847), requesting “a list of all your works, with the dates of their production.” Poe's conciliatory reply of January 16 (LTR-190) asked for a meeting with Griswold, with Poe's phrase “soon after seeing you” indicating that such a meeting actually took place. George B. Zieber was a bookseller, according to Phillips, 2:1685 (see also [page 488:] DLB, 49:502). Burgess & Stringer were publishers, and presumably had a special system of distribution to agents in various cities. Poe's “3d interest in the ‘Broadway Journal’ ” dated from February 21, 1845, when the contract with Bisco, the publisher, was signed (see Quinn, p. 751). For Poe's aversion to Thomas Ward (1807-1873), author of verse tales under the pen-name of “Flaccus” (the family name of Horace) in the Knickerbocker Magazine, see Poe's altogether “flippant” review (the word of The Poe Log, p. xlvii) of his Passaic in the March 1843 Graham's (H [Works], 11:160-174). Poe strenuously attacks this one of “Our Amateur Poets,” who he says is “characterized by Griswold” in his anthology as being a “gentleman of elegant leisure.” This phrase, however, does not actually appear in Griswold's Poets and Poetry of America. Instead, it presumably originated in Poe's own resentment of that group's wealth, privilege, and ready access to publishers and editors (see Writings, 2:243). Possibly foreseeing aid or a contribution from “Flaccus” for his magazine, Poe included him in Such Friends, as no. 3 (p. 37). It is interesting to note that Poe had no copies of “The Gold-Bug” on hand for Griswold. That story had been his second most popular work, after “The Raven.” (See LTR-197 for Poe's own comment on the relative status of these two works.) Although demand for “The Gold-Bug” in 1843 necessitated an unusually large run of the Dollar Newspaper, and was reprinted again in an extra issue, Poe may have already relinquished his remaining copy as part of the proposed edition of Tales then under consideration by Wiley & Putnam, or he may have sent his last copy to Lowell (in LTR-179). The two tales Poe did send, “Murders in the Rue Morgue” and “The Man that was Used Up,” suggest that Poe included a copy of his 1843 volume of Prose Romances, which contains only those two works. Despite Poe's recommended inclusions, Griswold published only “The Fall of the House of Usher,” which first appeared in Burton's (September 1839, 5:145-152), and which Poe did not mention in his letter (although, see SPR-7 for Griswold's forged version of the letter).

Source: photocopy of the original MS (1 p.) in the Boston Public Library. The letter is addressed to Rev. Rufus W. Griswold, Philadelphia, PA, and posted February 25. Griswold printed his manipulated form of the text (see SPR-7) in his “Preface” [Works, 1850] with the statement that this letter was Poe's next after that of January 10, 1845. The January entry, however, was forged and the statement invented to cover his not printing Poe's letter of January 16 (LTR-190). Griswold's reply, if made, as Poe requested, is not known. [page 489:]

Letter 193a — 1845, February (?) [CL-525] Poe (New York, NY) to Benjamin B. Minor (Richmond, VA):

[... I should like to see “The Raven” come out] in the beautiful typography of the Messenger [...]

Note: Benjamin Blake Minor (1818-1905) was the editor and proprietor of the SLM during the period 1843-1847. The best account of the present letter fragment is given in his book: “ ‘The Raven’ had appeared in the American Review, and the Evening Mirror in New York; but Mr. Poe wrote to the editor and requested him to relax this rule in regard to republications, and let ‘The Raven’ come out ‘in the beautiful typography of the Messenger.’ He also said that he wished to make some changes in it. His request, quite diplomatically presented, was complied with in March, 1845, p. 186. He did make a few changes, which were, with his careful criticism, improvements” (Minor, The SLM 1834-1864, pp. 138-139). Minor previously gave a similar statement in an 1895 article, also quoting only the same short phrase. It is unfortunate that Minor chose not to record more fully what would surely have been a letter of considerable interest to modern scholars, but he may no longer have had the letter itself by this time and was relying on his memory. There are several references by Poe to typography in his criticism, including one stating that the SLM's “outward appearance and typography is [sic] unexceptionable” (the Baltimore Republican, June 13, 1835; reprinted in Jackson, “Four of Poe's Critiques,” MLN, 50:255). A similar phrase even appears in Poe's tale “The Literary Life of Thingum Bob” (printed in the SLM for December 1844), where the narrator mentions, “the beauty of its typography and paper.... ” The story, of course, is a satirical one, and the comment made about a magazine called “The Lollipop,” can hardly be taken as serious praise, but it is perhaps more than entirely coincidental that Poe makes the statement about the same time that he is writing to Minor. Further endorsing the existence of such a letter is the fact that “The Raven” did indeed appear in the March 1845 issue of the SLM, with a number of changes.

Source: fragment as quoted by B. B. Minor in “Who Wrote ‘The Raven’ — Poe or Hirst?,” Richmond Times, Feb. 17, 1895. (A clipping of this article is in the Ingram Collection at the University of Virginia, item 886.) The bracketed text is an approximated reconstruction based on the description of the context provided by Minor. [page 489:]

Letter 193b — 1845, after February 28-possibly March 6 [CL-526a] Poe (New York, NY) to William M. Gillespie (New York, NY):

My Dear Gillespie,

An unlucky contretemps, connected with the getting out of the “Journal” will, I fear, detain me until after 10 to night — too late for the appointment.

If you can (this evening) see Mrs O. & make any decent apology for me, I will be greatly obliged. Any evening (except to-morrow) I shall be disengaged, and will be happy to accompany you.

In haste Yours truly


Thursday Evening

8. O’clock.

Note: William Mitchell Gillespie (1816-1868), according to Poe in “The Literati of New York City” (Godey's, May 1846; reprinted in H [Works], 15:19-20), apparently aided Park Benjamin in editing the New World. In 1845, Gillespie became Professor of Civil Engineering at Union College, Schenectady, NY (see the DAB, 7:288-289). Gillespie seems to have given the present letter to “Mrs O” (Mrs. Frances Sargent Osgood), who in turn gave it to her grand niece, Miss Helen I. Tetlow. See LTR-125 and note for Poe's use of contre-temps.

Source: photocopy of the original MS (1 p.), formerly in the collection of Miss Helen Ingersoll Tetlow. At one time on deposit in the Longfellow House, the MS is currently unlocated. The envelope, a separate leaf, is addressed to “Mr. W. M. Gillespie / 30 Dey St.” Reference to the BJ dates the letter as 1845; the month date must remain uncertain, though late spring is possible. This letter was initially printed in The Letters [1948], numbered as LTR-220b and dated only as “1845.” TOM [Iowa] jotted notes in his copy of that edition suggesting “Early March,” and then: “[March, 5] Mar 6” — thus according with Ostrom's note concerning the date for CL-526a in his “Revised Check List” (1981) and the corresponding renumbering as LTR-193a. The advent of the “new” Poe letter to B. B. Minor, however, requires a slight adjustment to the scheme, bumping the present letter to LTR-193b. No other letters to Gillespie are known, but Gillespie wrote to Poe, March 1, 1845 (CL-526). If Poe was answering a letter from Gillespie, it is unlocated. [page 490:]

Letter 194 — 1845, March 8 [CL-527] Poe (New York, NY) to Editor of the Broadway Journal (New York, NY):

In a late lecture on the “Poets and Poetry of America,” delivered before an audience made up chiefly of editors and their connexions, I took occasion to speak what I know to be the truth, and I endeavoured so to speak it that there should be no chance of misunderstanding what it was I intended to say. I told these gentlemen to their teeth that, with a very few noble exceptions, they had been engaged for many years in a system of indiscriminate laudation of American books — a system which, more than any other one thing in the world, had tended to the depression of that “American Literature” whose elevation it was designed to effect. I said this, and very much more of a similar tendency, with as thorough a distinctness as I could command. Could I, at the moment, have invented any terms more explicit, wherewith to express my contempt of our general editorial course of corruption and puffery, I should have employed them beyond the shadow of a doubt; — and should I think of anything more expressive hereafter, I will endeavour either to find or to make an opportunity for its introduction to the public.

And what, for all this, had I to anticipate? In a very few cases, the open, and, in several, the silent approval of the more chivalrous portion of the press; — but in a majority of instances, I should have been weak indeed to look for anything but abuse. To the Willises — the O’Sullivans — the Duyckincks — to the choice and magnanimous few who spoke promptly in my praise, and who have since taken my hand with a more cordial and more impressive grasp than ever — to these I return, of course, my acknowledgements, for that they have rendered me my due. To my villifiers [sic] I return also such thanks as they deserve, inasmuch as without what they have done me the honor to say, there would have been much of point wanting in the compliments of my friends. Had I, indeed, from the former, received any less equivocal tokens of disapprobation, I should at this moment have been looking about me to discover what sad blunder I had committed.

I am most sincere in what I say. I thank these, my opponents, for their good will, — manifested, of course, after their own fashion. No [page 492:] doubt they mean me well — if they could only be brought to believe it; and I shall expect more reasonable things from them hereafter. In the mean time, I await patiently the period when they shall have fairly made an end of what they have to say — when they shall have sufficiently exalted themselves in their own opinion — and when, especially, they shall have brought me over to that precise view of the question which it is their endeavor to have me adopt.

E. A. P.

Note: This editorial letter is intended to publicize Poe's denigration of the American literary clique, and especially Griswold's anthology of American poetry, continuing his denunciations through print and lectures, to attract future wider audiences and ever more praise for his forthright stand on critical and aesthetic standards. Poe's inclusion of Willis among “the magnanimous few” was the result of his favorable review of Poe's lecture, one of many professional favors which led to the listing of Willis in Such Friends as no. 245 (pp. 38 and 18), amidst prominent authors. N. P. Willis reviewed the lecture favorably in the Weekly Mirror of March 8, 1845, 1:347 (see Quinn, pp. 457-458). John L. O’Sullivan was editor of the Democratic Review (see American Magazines, 1:677 ff.); Poe seems not to have held him in high regard. For Evert A. Duyckinck, see the notes to LTR-192a and LTR-201. Among the unfavorable reviews was the rather harsh comment in the Daily Atlas (Boston), calling him “A chap named Poe” and asserting that “We should much prefer a dancing dog, or sommerseting monkey, to the man who could utter such remarks as this Poe is said to have made, in reference to the poetry of Sprague and Longfellow” (see The Poe Log, p. 513). At the time of the present letter, Poe was an editor of the BJ, though his name did not appear on the title page until the following week, March 15, when for the first time the names of the editors were given. The practical importance to Poe of the lecture circuit is reflected in the press reports. (Concerning the lecture, see LTR-195, especially the postscript and note. For further commentary, see also Writings, 4:35-36.) A good study of Poe as a lecturer is much needed; TOM intended to present his relevant gatherings in his series of Poe's works, apart from those comprising his published essays, but regrettably did not live long enough to make much progress on that plan. The Poe Log (index entries, p. 898) usefully supplies an extensive list of “lectures and readings” with basic data not otherwise quickly available. [page 493:]

The word “villifiers” is Poe's mistaken spelling, as shown in LTR-182 (villification); a letter to Mrs. S. H. Whitman, LTR-277 (villify); and a letter to C. F. Hoffman, LTR-290 (villify). All of these coinages are probably wrongly based on analogy with “villain,” which derives from Latin “villa,” not “vilis” meaning “cheap, paltry, valueless and vile.”

Source: letter printed under “Correspondence” in the BJ (March 8, 1845, 1:159). The original MS is probably lost. The date of the letter is taken from the issue of the BJ in which it appeared. Though the letter is not strictly a personal one, it is here reprinted to make it more accessible, and to be consistent with previous editions of The Letters.

Letter 194a — 1845, March 10 [CL-527a] Poe (New York, NY) to George R. Graham (Philadelphia, PA):


March 10. 45.

My Dear Graham,

I believe that you feel a delicacy in publishing my criticism on Longfellow's “Spanish Student”; and, perhaps, upon the whole, it would be for your interest not to do it, as, in a Magazine such as yours, you could not well manage to fight out the battle with Longfellow's coterie in Boston, which would be the result of your publishing it. But, with me, the case is very different, and if I can only get them all fairly down upon me, I shall know precisely what to do. I will, therefore, be very grateful to you if you will let me have the article back. I will write you, in place of it, any thing you may suggest — or I will advertise your Magazine conspicuously in the “Broadway Journal” to the amount of the $30 — or I will refund you the money, as soon as I can place my hands upon it. If you agree (& I hope you will) please send me the article as soon as possible, through your brother.

It is my firm intention to do every thing in my power to serve you, in the B. J., by way of convincing you that you have been doing me injustice all along.

Truly yours

Poe [page 494:]

Note: On October 19, 1843, Poe wrote J. R. Lowell: “I have written quite a long notice of [The Spanish Student] for Graham's December [1843] number” (LTR-164). On July 2, 1844 (LTR-179), he tells Lowell that Graham has had the review for nine months. Graham was apparently almost as reluctant to return the review as he had been to publish it. On March 11, 1845, Graham wrote to Longfellow: “What has ‘broke loose’ in Poe? I see he is down on you in New York papers and has written demanding return of Review I mentioned he had written for me. If he sends money or another article I shall be obliged to let him have it” (Phillips, 2:978). Poe ultimately incorporated its material in his critical paper, “The American Drama,” which was published in the American Review (August 1845; see H [Works], 13:33-73). Why Poe chose to print the article in a periodical other than the BJ is uncertain. At the time, he was not yet the sole proprietor of the BJ and may have bowed to the disapproval of his partner, John Bisco. Alternatively, he might have felt that his comments on Longfellow would find a broader audience in a publication with a larger circulation, or carry additional weight in an established periodical of greater prominence. The amount of Poe's indebtedness suggests something more than this one article. Poe apparently received $4 per page for reviews in Graham's, and LTR-164a specifically notes the price of the review as $20. The same letter shows Poe owing Graham $37.50 in the last quarter of 1843. A few minor contributions in 1844 must have adjusted it. How Poe's indebtedness to Graham was finally met is not known; an examination of the BJ shows numerous notices of Graham's Magazine, but no advertisement. Graham was generally forgiving in his dealings with Poe, and it is possible that in spite of his reservations about the attack on Longfellow, he permitted the author to reclaim his manuscript without making formal arrangements for payment. Poe's intermittent pique against such men as Graham, whether from real or imagined causes, was characteristic, especially when they failed to act in accordance with his wishes. G. R. Graham's brother was William H. Graham, who had published Poe's Prose Romances on July 18, 1843.

Source: photocopy of the original MS (1 p.) in the Humanities Research Center of the University of Texas at Austin. The MS is very fragile and is in two pieces held together by tape. The address leaf is lost. No reply from Graham is known. The Letters [1966] presents a conjectural argument for merging this letter with former LTR-187, but see the note to that letter, now renumbered as LTR-164a, for internal evidence which clearly establishes these as separate items. [page 495:]

Letter 195 — 1845, March 17 [CL-529] Poe (New York, NY) to Jedediah Hunt, Jr. (Ithaca, NY):

New-York March 17. 45

Dear Sir,

There is something in the tone of your article on “The Broadway Journal” (contained in the “Archives” of the 13 th.) which induces me to trouble you with this letter.

I recognize in you an educated, an honest, a chivalrous, but, I fear, a somewhat over-hasty man. I feel that you can appreciate what I do — and that you will not fail to give me credit for what I do well: — at the same time I am not quite sure that, through sheer hurry, you might not do me an injustice which you yourself would regret even more sincerely than I. I am anxious to secure you as a friend if you can be so with a clear conscience — and it is to enable you to be so with a clear conscience that I write what I am now writing.

Let me put it to you as to a frank man of honor — Can you suppose it possible that any human being could pursue a strictly impartial course of criticism for 10 years (as I have done in the S. L. Messenger and in Graham's Magazine) without offending irreparably a host of authors and their connexions? — but because these were offended, and gave vent at every opportunity to their spleen, would you consider my course an iota the less honorable on that account? Would you consider it just to measure my deserts by the yelpings of my foes, indepently [sic] of your own judgment in the premises, based upon an actual knowledge of what I have done?

You reply — “Certainly not,” and, because I feel that this must be your reply, I acknowledge that I am grieved to see any thing (however slight) in your paper [page 2] that has the appearance of joi[n]ing in with the outcry so very sure to be made by the ‘less[‘] honorable portion of the press under circumstances such as are my own.

I thank you sincerely for your expressions of good will — and I thank you for the reason that I value your opinion — when that opinion is fairly attained. But there are points at which you do me injustice. [page 496:]

For example, you say that I am sensitive (peculiarly so) to the strictures of others. There is no instance on record in which I have ever replied, directly or indirectly, to any strictures, personal or literary, with the single exception of my answer to Outis. You say, too, that I use a quarter of the paper in smoothing over his charges — but four-fifths of the whole space occupied is by the letter of Outis itself, to which I wish to give all the publicity in my power, with a view of giving it the more thorough refutation. The charges of which you speak — the charge of plagiarism &c — are not made at all. These are mistakes into which you have fallen, through want of time to peruse the whole of what I said, and by happening upon unlucky passages. It is, of course, improper to decide upon my reply until you have heard it, and as yet I have only commenced it by giving Outis’ letter with a few comments at random. There will be four chapters in all. My excuse for treating it at length is that it demanded an answer & no proper answer could be given in less compass — that the subject of imitation, plagiarism, &c is one in which the <subject> public has lately taken much interest & is admirably adapted to the character of a literary journal — and that I have some important developments to make, which the commonest principles [page 3] of self-defence demand imperatively at my hands.

I know that you will now do me justice — that you will read what I have said & may say — and that you will absolve me, at once, of the charge of squirmishness or ill nature. If ever man had cause to be in good humor with Outis and all the world, it is precisely myself, at this moment — as hereafter you shall see.

At some future day we shall be friends, or I am much mistaken, and I will then put into your hands ample means of judging me upon my own merits.

In the meantime I ask of you, justice.

Very truly yours

Edgar A Poe.

To J. Hunt Jr.

P.S. I perceive that you have permitted some of our papers an[d t]he Boston journals to give you a wrong impression of my Lecture & its [page 497:] reception. It was better attended than any Lecture of Mr Hudson's — by the most intellectual & refined portion of the city — and was complimented in terms which I should be ashamed to repeat, by the leading journalists of the City. See Mirror, Morning News, Inquirer New World &c. The only respectable N. Y. papers which did not praise it <w> throughout, was the Tribune whose transcendental editors or their doctrines, I attacked. My objection to the burlesque philosophy, which the Bostonians have adopted, supposing it to be Transcendentalism, is the key to the abuse of the Atlas & Transcript. So well was the Lecture received that I am about to repeat it.

Note: Jedediah Hunt, Jr. (1815-1860) was editor of the National Archives (Ithaca, NY). Poe is replying to a criticism of his BJ article “Imitation” (March 8, 1845, 1:147-150), by Hunt (March 13, 1845). The Poe Log prints Jedediah Hunt, Jr.'s adverse comments on Poe's sharp critiques and his disinclination to receive the same graciously, although Poe is the “best of his class” on “general topics” (p. 516). Ironically, Hunt's National Archives ran only from February 6 to March 13, 1845, and was dead about the time Poe wrote his letter. Following the demise of his periodical, Hunt quickly established himself as editor of a new journal, the Bainbridge Eagle, issued from a town about forty miles from Ithaca. He published Poe's present letter with his own comments: that Poe is “a too severe critic” but a “star in [our] literary galaxy” (The Poe Log, p. 529). Poe's “four chapters” in the BJ series (in addition to the first, already cited) were: “Plagiarism” (March 15, 1:161-163); “Mr. Poe's Reply to the Letter of Outis” (March 22, 1:178-182); “A Large Account of a Small Matter” (March 29, 1:194-198); and “A Voluminous History of the Little Longfellow War” (April 5, 1:211-212; Quinn, p. 454). “Outis,” literally Greek for “nobody,” was the name Odysseus gave in The Odyssey to disguise his real identity from Polyphemus, the giant one-eyed son of Poseidon. (The extent to which this association might have been intended by the writer of the New-York Mirror letter may be debated.) The hypothesis that Poe was himself “Outis” was initiated by Phillips (2:956-961 and 970-975) and accepted by TOM [Poems, 1:372 n. and 557 n. and [T&S], 3:1387 n. See also Pollin's various notes in support of “Outis” as a Poe pseudonym: Writings, 2:242 and 2:327-330; BJ volume, 4:32-33, 37-38, 43, 49, and 55-56; and “Poe as the Author of the ‘Outis’ Letter and ‘The Bird of the Dream’,” PS, 1987, 20:10-15. The attribution, although tantalizing and certainly possible for Poe, is not [page 498:] universally accepted. In The Mind of Poe and Other Studies, Campbell commented, “The Suggestion is an ingenious one, but ... there is no direct evidence to support it, and circumstantial evidence, also, seems to me to tell strongly against it” (p. 229). (See also Campbell, “Who Was Outis?,” University of Texas Studies in English, 8:107-109.) For other opposing views, see Ljungquist and Jones, “The Identity of ‘Outis’: A Further Chapter in the Poe-Longfellow War,” American Literature, 60:402-415 (where it is argued that “Outis” was Lawrence Labree). In addition, see D. Thomas, “Outis: A Gordian Knot Still Beckons,” PSA Newsletter, 16:3-4, with a response from Ljungquist, and a subsequent reply from D. Thomas, PSA Newsletter, 17:6.

Poe lectured on “Poets and Poetry of America,” announced in the Evening Mirror (February 27, 1845) for the evening of February 28 (Quinn, p. 457). The lecture was delivered in the library of the New York Historical Society. (See Alexander Crane in the Omaha Sunday World Herald, July 13, 1902, p. 24, reprinted in part by Quinn, p. 458; also Allen, 2:635 [1926], or p. 508 [1934]. Crane also states that the lecture was repeated, but does not give the date.) The date is confirmed by a letter from W. M. Gillespie to Poe (CL-526), Saturday morning, March 1, 1845, asking permission to copy the characterization of Mrs. Osgood given by Poe in his lecture “last night.” For Poe's hostility to Hudson and his lectures, see the note to LTR-280; also Writings, 4:236, for item 307A/51-62, corresponding to the same page and lines in vol. 3 for the text of BJ. Poe's war with the Boston Transcendentalists is well documented. About the time of the present letter, for example, Margaret Fuller, formerly of the Dial, was lampooned through an unflattering engraved portrait in the March 8, 1845 BJ, along with a satirical word sketch by Poe (see Writings, 3:34 and 4:34). For the Daily Atlas and the Evening Transcript (both of Boston), see The Poe Log, p. 513 (and notes to LTR-194).

Neither the full noun “squirmishness” nor the implied adjective “squirmish” can be found in the OED. Poe's coinage here, based on “wriggling or writhing movement,” seems to mean indecisiveness or evasiveness. The OED documents the adjectival “squirmy” as particular to the USA.

Source: photocopy of the original MS (3 pp.) in the Huntington Library. The MS has a torn portion in the postscript. In the MS, the word “principles” is divided across pages 2 and 3 as “princi-ples.” There is no evidence of a letter from Hunt in reply to Poe's. [page 499:]

Letter 195a — 1845, March 20 [CL-530] Poe (New York, NY) to Mrs. Mary E. Hewitt (New York, NY):

Dear Madam,

I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your little package and note.

The coincidence to which you call my attention is certainly remarkable, and the story as narrated by your brother is full of a rich interest, no particle of which, most assuredly, is lost in your truly admirable paraphrase. I fear, indeed, that my enthusiasm for all that I feel to be poetry, has hurried me into some indiscretion touching the “Tale of Luzon”. Immediately upon reading it, I took it to the printer, and it is now in type for the “Broadway Journal” of this week. As I re-peruse your note, however, (before depositing it among my most valued autographs) I find no positive warrant for the act — I am by no means sure that you designed the poem for our paper. If I have erred, then, I have to beg that you will point out the penance.

Very respectfully and admiringly


Edgar A Poe.

To Mrs Mary E. Hewitt.

“Broadway Journal” Office

March 20 — 45

Note: Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Moore Hewitt (1807-1894) was one of the New York Literati whose poetry Poe complimented and printed in the BJ. She was also part of the circle of literary women with whom Poe began to socialize in 1845, and was a friend of Mrs. Osgood and Mrs. Whitman. She wrote at least six letters to Poe (see the “Check List”; all six letters were reprinted by TOM, A Christmas Book, December, 1937, pp. 116-121). The package and note referred to are Mrs. Hewitt's “The Tale of Luzon,” based on a white bird in which she saw a resemblance to Poe's raven, and an explanatory letter. Poe printed her poem in the BJ, March 22, 1845 (1:186), setting it in type before receiving her permission. Under “To Readers and Correspondents” appears the comment: “We return our warmest acknowledgments to the author of the ‘Tale of Luzon’ ” (1:191). Mrs. Hewitt later approved of the printing, replying to Poe on March 21, [page 500:] 1845: “I certainly intended to place the ‘Tale of Luzon’ quite at your disposal — and beg you to believe that I appreciate highly the kindness that has prompted your favorable notice of my lines” (CL-533). According to her letters, Mrs. Hewitt lived at the Athenaeum Hotel, New York City. Poe entered her name in Such Friends as no. 236 (p. 26). Her brother was Josiah Moore, to whom she dedicated her Songs of Our Land and Other Poems (Boston: Ticknor, 1845), reviewed by Poe in the BJ, October 25, 1845 (2:247-248; reprinted in Writings, 3:288-290). Her friendly association with Poe seems to have been genuine; writing to him on April 14, 1846, she commented: “All Bluedom misses you from its charmed circle, and we often ask when are we to have Mr Poe back again among us” (CL-618). For a note about Mrs. Hewitt collecting money for Poe's benefit later in 1846, see The Poe Log, p. 672; and for an 1848 visit Poe made to Mrs. Hewitt, see The Poe Log, pp. 777-778.

Source: facsimile of the original MS (1 p.) in the Charles Hamilton Gallery catalog (no. 60), August 3, 1972, item 123-A. The MS is unlocated. This is Poe's first known and only extant letter to Mrs. Hewitt. He is replying to her note, dated March 15, 1845 (CL-528), the first item in the Poe-Hewitt correspondence. Her subsequent letter, March 21 (CL-533), is noted above. (Former LTR-195a has been renumbered as LTR-195b to allow the insertion of this “new” letter.)

Letter 195b — 1845, March 20 [CL-531] Poe (New York, NY) to Mrs. Anna Cora Mowatt (?) (New York, NY):


Very respectfully & admiringly


Edgar A Poe.

Please address 154 Greenwich St.

March 20 — 45.

Note: The address given by Poe may well be an otherwise unidentified residence in New York. It is hardly to be confused with 130 Greenwich Street, where he lived when he came to New York in April, 1844 (see LTR-174 and Quinn, p. 407). Quinn suggests (pp. 414 and 435) that Poe [page 501:] was living on the Brennan farm in January, 1845, and that he moved from there to 195 East Broadway about May, 1845 (pp. 461 and 463). Poe seems to have moved to 85 Amity Street by October, 1845 (see the note to LTR-215). He may have moved to 154 Greenwich Street from the Brennan farm sometime after January and before March 20, 1845, staying there until he went to 195 East Broadway. Poe's address is not listed in the 1844, 1845, 1846 New York City directories, and who or what occupied the building at the new Greenwich Street location cannot be determined.

Source: photocopy of the original MS fragment (probably from a one-page A.L.S.) in the Humanities Research Center of the University of Texas at Austin. There is no accompanying cover or address with the MS. The complimentary close and signature of a Poe letter was often cut off by his feminine correspondent and given to a friend (see LTR-214), just as was done with Mrs. Mowatt's signature in her reply to Poe cited above. Since this fragment is typical of numerous cuttings of Poe letters and was purchased by a prominent Poe collector through a reputable dealer, it may be reasonably assumed that it is genuine. In The Letters [1948], Ostrom suggested Mrs. Hewitt as possibly the person addressed in the present letter, for she had written Poe, March 15 (CL-528), enclosing a poem, “The Tale of Luzon,” which he liked and printed in the BJ, March 22 (see LTR-195a). The subsequent sale and facsimile printing of the MS letter of Poe to Hewitt, March 20, 1845, required that the present fragment be assigned a new identification. A likely substitute for Poe's correspondent would be Mrs. Anna Cora Mowatt. Poe wrote Mrs. Mowatt for a MS copy of her new play “Fashion,” which was to open at the Park theater in New York on Tuesday, March 25, 1845, and she responded promptly by sending him a handwritten copy without “the corrections made at the suggestion of critical advisers,” regretting at the same time that Poe's “criticisms ... could not have been made before preparations for the performance of the Comedy had progressed so far” (Mowatt to Poe, CL-532). Poe's review of “Fashion” was based, as he says, on “the author's original MS” and was written “before the comedy's representation at the Park” (H [Works], 12:120). It appeared in the BJ, Saturday, March 29. Since Mrs. Mowatt writes as if the play has not opened and dates her letter “Thursday evening,” its date must have been March 20 (CL-532). Thus Poe's present letter, which preceded it and bears the same date [Thursday] March 20, 1845, was probably delivered by hand to Mrs. Mowatt, whose reply may have been delivered by messenger the same evening. TOM [Iowa] had said: [page 502:] “fragment — doubtful! appendix at best. I see little reason to reject this fragment. The address given means no more than that Poe had arranged to receive a letter there by some acquaintance. To Mrs. Mowatt or some one else?”

Letter 196 — 1845, April 19 [CL-534] Poe (New York, NY) to Rufus W. Griswold (Philadelphia, PA):

Apr. 19

Dear Griswold,

I return the proof, with many thanks for your attentions. The poems look quite as well in the short metre as in the long, and I am quite content as it is. You will perceive, however, that some of the lines have been divided at the wrong place. I have marked them right in the proof; but lest there should be any misapprehension, I copy them as they should be:

Stanza 11.

Till the dirges of his Hope the

Melancholy burden bore

Stanza 12.

Straight I wheel’d a cushion’d seat in

Front of bird and bust and door;

Stanza 12 — again

What this grim, ungainly, ghastly

Gaunt and ominous bird of yore

Stanza 13.

To the fowl whose fiery eyes now

Burn’d into my bosom's core;

Near the beginning of the poem you have “nodded” spelt “nooded”. In the “Sleeper” the line

Forever with uncloséd eye

should read

Forever with unopen’d eye [page 503:]

Is it possible to make the alteration?

Very sincerely yours


PS) I presume you understand that in the repetition of my Lecture on the Poets (in N. Y.) I left out all that was offensive to yourself?

Note: At the time of the present letter, Poe was in New York, as the postal cancellation indicates; and Griswold was in Philadelphia, as the address shows. In its first published forms (New York Evening Mirror, January 29, 1845 and the American Review, February 1845), “The Raven” was printed in long lines, as it was in The Raven and Other Poems (New York: Wiley & Putnam, November 19, 1845 — see TOM [RAOP], “Introduction.”). The discussion of the format to be used in printing the poem was presumably for the new edition of Poets and Poetry of America (the 6th appearing in 1845, although “The Raven” did not actually make its first appearance until the 8th edition, 1847). The constriction of hexameters was required by the two-column format of pages in that book. TOM [Poems, 1:363] acknowledges it in his list without comment, for he did not regard as a substantive alteration of the text the mere printing of a verse line with the characteristic of being divided. Poe's willingness to consider the short-line version receives support in the introduction printed with the poem as it appeared in the American Review, including the comment: “In regard to its measure, it may be noted that if all the verses were like the second, they might properly be placed merely in short lines .... ” TOM [Poems, 1:360-361] quotes the paragraph, noting “it is thought Poe had a hand [in it].” Poe's statement that he included nothing “offensive” about Griswold in his “Lecture” in New York may well be sincere. Reviews of the lecture as it was previously presented in Philadelphia (November 21, 1843) and in Wilmington Delaware (December 23, 1843) show that Poe specially criticized Griswold: “The subject ‘American Poetry,’ was handled in a manner that placed all the pseudo-critics, the Rev. Mr. Rufus Griswold, Esq. among others, to the blush ... ” (The Poe Log, p. 443) and “This book [Poets and Poetry of America] and its author [Griswold] were handled by the critical Lecturer in not the most gentle manner” (The Poe Log, p. 447). Reviews of the [page 504:] New York version of the lecture suggest that Poe did indeed drop Griswold as a target for attack. Poe continued what the Daily Tribune for March 1, 1845 called “indiscriminate and unjust censure on whatever has hitherto aspired to be criticism in this country” (The Poe Log, p. 580), and the Evening Mirror for the same date mentions that the “Copperplate Five” (Bryant, Halleck, Longfellow, Sprague, and Dana, so-named because they appeared in the engraved frontispiece of Griswold's Poets and Poetry of America) “were taken to represent the country's poetry, and dropped into the melting-pot accordingly” (The Poe Log, p. 510). Although the general tone of the lecture seems unchanged, Griswold himself is merely mentioned as being editor of the anthology.

Source: photocopy of the original MS (1 p.) in the Boston Public Library. (See also SPR-8 for Griswold's forged version.) The envelope was cancelled at New York, April 19. The lecture establishes the year as 1845 (see the note to LTR-195 for the date of publication of Griswold's book; see also the note to LTR-193 for the date of the lecture in New York). If a letter from Griswold accompanied the proof, its location is unknown.

Letter 197 — 1845, May 4 [CL-535] Poe (New York, NY) to Frederick W. Thomas (Washington, DC):

My Dear Thomas,

In the hope that you have not yet quite given me up, as gone to Texas, or elsewhere, I sit down to write you a few words. I have been intending to do the same thing ever since I received your letter before the last — but for my life and soul I could not find, or make, an opportunity. The fact is, that being seized, of late, with a fit of industry, I put so many irons in the fire all at once, that I have been quite unable to get them out. For the last three or four months I have been working 14 or 15 hours a day — hard at it all the time — and so, whenever I took pen in hand to write, I found that I was neglecting something that would be attended to. I never knew what it was to be a slave before.

And yet, Thomas, I have made no money. I am as poor now as ever I was in my life — except in hope, which is by no means bankable. I have taken a 3d pecuniary interest in the “Broadway Journal”, and for [page 505:] every thing I have written for it have been, of course, so much out of pocket. In the end, however, it will pay me well — at least the prospects are good. Say to Dow for me that there never has been a chance for my repaying him, without putting myself to greater inconvenience than he himself would have wished [page 2] to subject me to, had he known the state of the case. Nor am I able to pay him now. The Devil himself was never so poor. Say to Dow, also, that I am sorry he has taken to dunning in his old age — it is a diabolical practice, altogether unworthy “a gentleman & a scholar” — to say nothing of the Editor of the “Madisonian.” I wonder how he would like me to write him a series of letters — say one a week — giving him the literary gossip of New-York — or something of more general character. I would furnish him such a series for whatever he could afford to give me. If he agrees to this arrangement, ask him to state the length & character of the letters — how often — and how much he can give me. Remember me kindly to him & tell him I believe that dunning is his one sin — although at the same time, I do think it is the unpardonable sin against the Holy Ghost spoken of in the Scriptures. I am going to mail him the “Broadway Journal” regularly, & hope he will honor me with an exchange.

My dear Thomas, I hope you will never imagine from any seeming neglect of mine, that I have forgotten our old friendship. There is no one in the world I would rather see at this moment than yourself; and many are the long talks we have about you and yours. Virginia & Mrs Clemm beg to be remembered to you in the kindest [page 3] terms. Do write me fully when you get this, and let me know particularly what you are about.

I send you an early number of the “B. Journal” containing my “Raven”. It was copied by Briggs, my associate, before I joined the paper. “The Raven” has had a great “run”, Thomas — but I wrote it for the express purpose of running — just as I did the “Gold-Bug”, you know. The bird beat the bug, though, all hollow.

Do not forget to write immediately, & believe me

Most sincerely your friend,

Poe [page 506:]

Note: On February 11, 1845, Poe entered into a contract with John Bisco, publisher of the BJ, in which Poe agreed to assist Charles F. Briggs in editing the magazine, to lend his name as one of the editors, to furnish at least one page of original matter each week, and to “give his faithful superintendence to the general conduct” of the Journal. In exchange, Bisco agreed to give Poe one third of the profit and to settle with him “as often as every four weeks.” The agreement was to last for one year (see a printing of the contract in Quinn, p. 751). “The Raven” was reprinted in the BJ, February 8, 1845, the sixth number of the magazine. “The Gold-Bug” had originally appeared in 1843 in the Dollar Newspaper, June 21 (part I) and 28 (parts I and II), with an extra reprint of the full tale a few weeks later, on July 12. Poe's humorous comment that “the Raven beat the bug” is a complicated pun on a race, theatrical popularity (for stage presentations), and on reprintings in the periodical press; see these themes given in some detail in TOM [T&S], 3:803-805. “Hollow” in the expression “beat all hollow” for “completely” may be a corruption of “wholly,” as Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable suggests.

On the third page of the letter, Thomas wrote concerning Jesse E. Dow, author of “many beautiful fugitive poems.” He explained Poe's reference to “dunning” as due to Dow's “pressing need of the money which he had lent to Poe” (see LTR-156). Thomas then added, clearly at a later date, “Dow is now dead ... It was delightful to hear the two talk together, and to see how Poe would start at some of Dow's STRANGE notions as Poe called them.” (The full note is given in H [Works], 17:205, with some inaccuracies. Dow died in 1850.) In offering to provide a “series of letters” for the Madisonian, Poe is following his prior procedure of 1844, in which he met his immediate financial needs by writing weekly accounts of “doings in New York City” for the Columbia Spy, a country newspaper in Columbia, PA. The seven weekly letters from May 18, 1844 to July 6, 1844, with his observations on his environment, were found, collected, edited, and published by Jacob E. Spannuth and TOM as Doings of Gotham. The series furnishes valuable insights into Poe's casual, informal style and varied interests. Unfortunately neither Jesse Dow nor his paper was in a flourishing condition then, and nothing came of the offer.

Source: photocopy of the original MS (3 pp.) in the Boston Public Library. The envelope is directed to F. W. Thomas in “Washington City,” and postmarked at New York, May 4. Thomas endorsed the envelope: “Recd May 5. 1845.” Poe is replying to at least two letters from Thomas, written between January 5 and May 3 (CL-515). [page 507:]

Letter 198 — 1845, May 14 [CL-537] Poe (New York, NY) to Frederick W. Thomas (Washington, DC):

New-York — May. 14. 45.

My Dear Thomas,

Yours of the 12 th has just reached me & I hasten to send you a translation of the cipher as desired — although I fancy it will turn out to be of no particular importance. It runs thus:

“In September 1843, our respected friend Colonel T. C. Gardner, auditor of the Post Office Department, applied at the Land Office with his warrant. His patent did not render it necessary to reside at the place.

Richard Douglas.

Lieutenant Brewster (or Shrewstead)

Brooklyn Long Island

25 September 1843.”

This cryptograph has been written by some barbarously ignorant person who spells “necessary” <for> “neseserri” “post office” “puwst ofis” “to” “tuw” [Marginal addition: “Brooklyn” “Bruklin”] etc. His name is signed “Richard Duglas.” You will perceive, therefore, that absolute accuracy, in decyphering the cryptograph, is impossible — but I have made it as clear as such a letter would have been out of cypher. The words which follow “Lieutenant Brewster” I have not made out — although they may be “United States Marine”. If more accuracy is required, please forward the original. In copying, abundant errors seem to have been made.

I was delighted to hear from you. Do write soon again. I have not seen Dow yet. Willis is well & going to England next month. I will write you more fully in a day or two. Yours truly but in haste.


Note: On the verso of this letter Thomas wrote: “A gentleman in the land office in Washington inspecting a [illegible] in some papers in which he [page 508:] found a letter in cipher, and having heard me speak of my knowledge of Poe's skill in cryptography, asked me to get him to decipher it which I did. T.” (Moldenhauer, Descriptive Catalog, p. 60, suggests “grant” for the illegible word.) Thomas’ letter of May 12, 1845 (CL-536) said that Dow had gone to New York for a visit, and asked if Poe ever saw Willis. Though Poe promises to write in a “day or two,” no letter is known until after September 29, 1845 (CL-569a). In connection with Poe's cryptanalysis of “Brewster's” item, see Wimsatt, “What Poe Knew About Cryptography,” 58:765-766, in which he says Poe was hasty in his solution and made errors, the original cypher not being done by an ignorant person.

Source: photocopy of the original MS (1 p.), formerly in the collection of William H. Koester, and now in the Humanities Research Center of the University of Texas at Austin. The envelope, a separate leaf, is addressed: “F. W. Thomas Esqr / Washington D. C.” and postmarked at New York, May 15. On the envelope Thomas noted: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the Wilderness, even so must the son of man be lifted up, That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life — John III 14 15” (John 3:14-15). He endorsed the letter: “Recd May 18, 1845.” Poe is answering Thomas’ letter of May 12, 1845 (CL-536), in which Thomas says the secret writing is sent at the request of C. S. Frailey. In The Letters [1948], the two sentences “I have ... next month” in the final paragraph are given in parentheses. Moldenhauer, Descriptive Catalog, p. 60, states that: “The parentheses ... are penciled and hence probably extraneous to the text.” Following his advice they have been omitted. In the MS, both instances of “Office” seem to begin with a small “o,” but Poe's capitals are not always easily distinguished.

Letter 199 — 1845, May 26 [CL-540] Poe (New York, NY) to John Keese (New York, NY):

Mr John Keese,

Dr Sir,

Permit me to thank you for the many expressions of good will in your letter of the 24th — also for the books you were so kind as to send me a few days before — very especially for Mrs Smith's beautiful Poems. [page 509:]

It will give me great pleasure to hand you, in the course of this week, a brief article for “The Opal”.

With respect & esteem,

Yr Ob. St.

Edgar A Poe

May 26.th.

Note: John Keese (1805-1856) edited The Opal: A Pure Gift for the Holy Days for 1846. Keese also edited the 1847 Opal, but neither has any contribution by Poe. (In this connection, see LTR-200). Two items by Poe had appeared in previous editions of The Opal: “Morning on the Wissahiccon” (for 1844, edited by N. P. Willis) and “A Chapter of Suggestions” (for 1845, edited by Mrs. S. J. Hale). The Opal for 1846 was briefly noted in the BJ, December 27, 1845 (2:386), but with the comment, “we have received no copy of this year's Opal, and have no opportunity, therefore, of speaking of it in full” (Writings, 3:349). For Poe's review of the poetry of Elizabeth Oakes Smith, see the BJ, August 23, 1845 (reprinted in H [Works], 12:228-233, and Writings, 3:221-222). Keese was Mrs. Smith's editor, and Poe's attempt to laud “The Sinless Child” in her newly gathered Poetical Writings may stem in part from his vain hope to find acceptance for his offering of a “brief article.” The review gives high praise to her 16-line poem “The Water,” obviously printed as a contrast to Longfellow's later poem “Rain in Summer.” (In this case, Poe's charge of “bold plagiarism” against Longfellow rings true.) A very brief review of Mrs. Smith's True Child volume was included in the September 6 issue of the BJ (Writings, 3:242-243). A review of Keese's Poets of America appears in Burton's Gentlemen's Magazine, December 1839 (5:331), but has not been attributed to Poe with certainty. TOM [Iowa] gives Poe as the possible author, equivocally, but W. D. Hull assigns the review to Burton. In Poe's Boston Miscellany review of Griswold's Poets and Poetry of America (November 1842), Keese is mentioned in a list of compilers of similar volumes (H [Works], 11:149-50). In the first sentence of LTR-229, Poe refers to Duyckinck's linking the two men. However minor Poe's relations with John Keese may seem now, Poe considered them significant enough to give his name entrée into Such Friends as no. 94 (p. 28).

Source: photocopy of the original MS (1 p.), formerly in the collection of William H. Koester, and now in the Humanities Research Center of the [page 510:] University of Texas at Austin. The envelope, a separate leaf, is addressed to “Mr John Keese / 254 Pearl Street,” postmarked “City Despatch Post, May 27, 9 oclock.” Poe's June 9, 1845 letter to Keese (LTR-200), serves to establish the year date of the present letter. Poe is replying to Keese's letter of May 24, 1845 (CL-539).

Letter 200 — 1845, June 9 [CL-544] Poe (New York, NY) to John Keese (New York, NY):

My Dear Sir,

With this note I have the honor to send you a brief sketch for “The Opal” — and hope that I am not too late.

Whatever you yourself think the value of the article, please remit to the Office of the “Broadway Journal”.

With sincere esteem

Yr Ob. St

Edgar A Poe

Mr John Keese.

June 9.th

Note: Poe often used the word “article” to refer to a tale, further implied in the present letter by the other description as a sketch. Whatever it was, Poe's “brief sketch” was either too late or deemed unsuitable, for no contribution by Poe appears in The Opal for 1846, edited by Keese, either in the New York or in the Greenfield, MA printings (copy in the Newberry Library, Chicago). A possible candidate is “The Imp of the Perverse,” which might not have pleased Keese, nor seemed appropriate for an annual subtitled “A Pure Gift for the Holy Days.” Although this story was first printed in Graham's for July 1845, where it fills just over two pages, it was quickly reprinted in another annual, The May Flower for 1846, edited by Robert Hamilton and published by Saxton & Kelt.

Source: photocopy of the original MS (1 p.), formerly in the collection of William H. Koester, and now in the Humanities Research Center of the University of Texas at Austin. The address appears on a separate leaf, used as an envelope. The year date is established by the reference to the BJ (see also LTR-199 and notes). [page 511:]

Letter 200a — 1845, June 20 [CL-544b] Poe (New York, NY) to Charles E. West (New York, NY):

Chas. E. West Esq.

Office of the Broadway Journal

June 20th — 1845,

Dr Sir,

The previous letter to which you allude did not reach me — I trust, therefore, that you will exonerate me from the charge of discourtesy.

I shall be happy to oblige you in any way — and it will give me very great pleasure to act as one of a Committee in which I shall be associated with two gentlemen whom I so highly respect as Drs Griswold and Snodgrass.

My time is entirely at your disposal — whenever you will be kind enough to let me know that you require it.

Very respectfully

Yr Ob. St.

Edgar A Poe

Note: Charles Edwin West (1809-1900) was principal of Rutgers Female Institute, New York City, retiring in 1851. For an account of his invitation to Poe to serve as a judge of compositions by members of the Institute, see TOM [Poems], 1:397-398. Rufus W. Griswold and William Davis Snodgrass (1796-1886) were the gentlemen referred to, though Griswold did not serve. TOM's footnote tells of the substitution for Griswold of Henry T. Tuckerman, constituting Poe's first meeting with the man who had brusquely rejected his “The Tell-Tale Heart” in 1842 (see LTR-149, and especially the notes). W. D. Snodgrass was primarily a writer on religious subjects. Poe read the winning poem at the commencement exercises on July 11, 1845.

Source: photocopy of the original MS (1 p.) in the New York Society Library. The envelope is postmarked: “City Despatch Post, U. S., Jun 20, 1 o’clock,” and is addressed: “To/ Charles E. West / Principal of the Rutgers Institute, / New-York.” It is docketed, probably in West's hand, “Mr. Poe / accepts.” The paraph or flourish under Poe's signature is pro [page 512:] forma and to be ignored. Poe is replying to West's letter, before June 20, 1845 (CL-544a). Poe's acceptance suggests a possible note from West shortly after June 20 (CL-544c).

Letter 201 — 1845, June 26 [CL-545] Poe (New York, NY) to Evert A. Duyckinck (New York, NY):

Thursday Morning.

My Dear Mr Duyckinck,

I am still dreadfully unwell, and fear that I shall be very seriously ill. Some matters of domestic affliction have also happened which deprive me of what little energy I have left — and I have resolved to give up the B. Journal and retire to the country for six months, or perhaps a year, as the sole means of recruiting my health and spirits. Is it not possible that yourself or Mr Matthews [sic] might give me a trifle for my interest in the paper? Or, if this cannot be effected, might I venture to ask you for an advance of $50 on the faith of the “American Parnassus”? — which I will finish as soon as possible. If you could oblige me in this manner I would feel myself under the deepest obligation. Will you be so kind as to reply by the bearer?

Most sincerely yours

Edgar A Poe

E. A. Duyckinck Esqr

Note: At the time of the present letter, Duyckinck was an editor of the New York Morning News (see LTR-220). He later became the editor of the Literary World, beginning about February-April 1847, which he and his brother, George Long Duyckinck, edited and published from October 1848 until December 1853 (see American Magazines, 1:766). E. A. Duyckinck also selected and edited the collection of Poe's Tales that Wiley & Putnam had just published (see the note to LTR-192a). The advance of $50 on the “American Parnassus” was apparently made (see LTR-215). (The project was later reconsidered as The Living Writers of America and Literary America, but ultimately abandoned — see the note to LTR-240, and Pollin, “The Living Writers of America,” SAR 1991, pp. 151-211.) Poe's sudden resolve to “give up the B. Journal” may not have been his own decision. On June 27, Charles F. Briggs wrote to Lowell [page 513:] (see The Poe Log, p. 542) that he would make “a fresh start” with the journal. He goes on to disparage Poe's abilities and temperament, declaring that he will “haul down Poe's name.” In the end, Poe would remain and Briggs would leave.

Source: photocopy of the original MS (1 p.) in the New York Public Library, Manuscript Division. The year date is established by the reference to the BJ, and what seems to be the month date is supported by “June 26,” first noticed by TOM [RAOP, p. xii], which is entered in pencil on the original MS. Misdatings of the letter have probably been due to the “Nov. 13, 1845?” entered on the mounting of the MS. The envelope is addressed: “E. A. Duyckinck Esqr / 20 Clinton Place / 8th St.” The June date would seem more reasonable given the fact that Poe had a third interest or share in the BJ at that time, but in November was full owner (see LTR-211 and note). Contributory evidence to the acceptance of this dating for the letter is also to be found in the similar tone of despondency cited in Miss Lynch's letter to Poe, June 27, 1845 (CL-547). The bearer was probably Mrs. Clemm, but no written reply is known.

Letter 201a — 1845, June-July (?) [CL-547b] Poe (New York, NY) to Thomas H. Chivers (New York, NY):

No. 195,

New York, East Broadway, August [June] 15th 18[45]

My Dear Friend, — I have just received your very polite letter informing me that you are in the city. How could you have remained here so long without calling to see me? Call upon me immediately, for I am more than anxious to see you. You will find me at 195, East Broadway. Should you prefer it, if you will let me know where you are, I will call and see you.

Believe me ever truly your friend,

E. A. Poe.

Dr. T. H. Chivers

Note: Dr. Chivers was in New York to make arrangements for the publication of his volume of poems, The Lost Pleiad (see Davis, Chivers’ Life of Poe, p. 11). Poe favorably reviewed the book in the BJ for August 2, 1845 (see the note to LTR-140). For Chivers’ interesting and detailed, [page 514:] although perhaps not entirely reliable, account of his meeting Poe in New York, see Davis, pp. 57-62.

Source: transcript of the letter in the only surviving copy, in the Duke University Library, Chivers Collection. The copy is on the back of the fourth page of “Orfeo: A funeral Oration on the Death of a Beautiful Son of Song.” According to Chase and Parks, “Chivers presumably made this copy from memory when he was working on his ‘Life of Poe,’ which was not sent to a publisher until at least seven years later” (The Complete Works of T. H. Chivers, 1:37-38). Although Chivers gives the date as August, and Poe still lived at this address until about September 1845, Chase and Parks speculate that it must be June since Poe and Chivers met later that month.

Letter 202 — 1845, before July 5 [CL-548] Poe (New York, NY) to Edward J. Thomas (New York, NY):

Office of the Broadway Journal, etc.

Edward J. Thomas, Esq.


As I have not had the pleasure of hearing from you since our interview at your office, may I ask of you to state to me distinctly, whether I am to consider the charge of forgery urged by you against myself, in the presence of a common friend, as originating with yourself or Mr. Benjamin?

Your ob. serv’t.,

Edgar A. Poe

Note: In Godey's for July 1846, Poe belittled the abilities of Thomas Dunn English, poet and editor of the Aristidean (1845). In his reply in the New York Evening Mirror, June 23, English attacked Poe's character, stating that “a merchant of this city had accused him [Poe] of committing forgery.” Poe's rejoinder identified the “merchant” as “a gentleman of high respectability — Mr. Edward J. Thomas, of Broad Street.” But Thomas’ letter (CL-549) makes clear that he merely repeated the rumor of forgery, that he traced it to the originator, who is unidentified, and [page 515:] found it without basis. Apparently, Park Benjamin was in no way responsible for making the charge, and the “common friend” is identified as Mrs. Frances S. Osgood (see E. J. Thomas’ letter to her, in Quinn, p. 505; see also, Ingram, 2:85, n.).

Source: text of letter as printed in the Spirit of the Times (Philadelphia), July 10, 1846, (no. 164, 16:1, cols. 4-6), in “Mr. Poe's Reply to Mr. English and Others” (dated New York, June 27). (For the full article, as well as considerable documentation concerning the context of the present letter, see Moss, Poe's Major Crisis, pp. 50-59.) The MS is presumably lost. It is undated, but elicited Thomas’ reply of July 5, 1845 (CL-549). Poe's note is difficult to date; if actually written and sent, it probably reached Thomas after June 27, the date on which, according to his letter to Poe, he saw the person “from whom the report [of forgery] originated,” though it may have been written earlier. Thomas’ letter contains no reference to the receipt of Poe's note.

Letter 203 — 1845, August 8 [CL-553] Poe (New York, NY) to Neilson Poe (Baltimore, MD):

New-York: August 8/ 45.

My Dear Sir,

It gave me sincere pleasure to receive a letter from you — but I fear you will think me very discourteous in not sooner replying. I have deferred my answer, however, from day to day, in hope of procuring some papers relating to my grandfather. In this I have failed. Mrs C. has no memoranda of the kind you mention, and all of which I have any knowledge are on file at Annapolis.

I thank you for the kind interest you take in my welfare. We all speak very frequently of yourself and family, and regret that, hitherto, we have seen and known so little of each other. Virginia, in especial, is much pained at the total separation from her sisters. She has been, and is still, in precarious health. About four years ago she ruptured a blood-vessel, in singing, and has never recovered from the accident. I fear that she never will. Mrs Clemm is quite well: — both beg to be kindly remembered. [page 516:]

I regret that I had no opportunity of seeing you during my last visit to Baltimore. Virginia and myself, however, will very probably spend a few weeks in your city during the fall, when we hope to be with you frequently. When you see any of Mr Herring's family, will you say that we are anxious to hear from them?

I rejoice to learn that you prosper at all points. I hear of you often. “The B. Journal” flourishes — but in January I shall establish a Magazine.

Very cordially Yours,

Edgar A Poe

Note: Neilson Poe (1809-1884), son of Jacob Poe, was Maria Clemm's cousin, and Poe's second cousin. Poe's relationship with Neilson was generally strained, and Poe's gratitude for Neilson's “kind interest in my welfare” is considerably at odds with his description of Neilson as “the little dog” (LTR-83). More interesting may be Poe's accusations in that same letter that he is “the bitterest enemy I have in the world” and criticizes him for being “the more despicable in this, since he makes loud professions of friendship.” Whatever his personal feelings about his cousin, Poe's tone in the present letter clearly suggests that he probably made an effort to be pleasant when dealing with Neilson directly. Virginia's “sisters” would be her half-sisters, daughters of her father by a former marriage. Josephine Poe (1808-1889), Neilson's wife, was one of these “sisters” (see Quinn, p. 726). Mrs. Clemm's sister, Elizabeth, had married Henry Herring (see Quinn, p. 17). For more on Poe's grandfather, “General” David Poe, see LTR-64 and note. The “memoranda” presumably dealt with David Poe's claims against the U. S. government. Records of David Poe's military service, and his failed efforts to obtain reimbursement for vouchers, were housed in the state capital in Annapolis. Poe and Virginia apparently did not visit Baltimore in the fall, perhaps due to Virginia's continuing poor health and Poe's increasingly desperate attempts at keeping the BJ going. He may have visited alone about March of 1846 (see The Poe Log, p. 628). For Virginia's illness, see LTR-132, LTR-135, LTR-141 and notes. The BJ was certainly not flourishing at this point, and Poe's routinely cheery comments about its prospects are easily dismissed as wishful thinking or a kind of desperate public relations campaign. In January, the Journal itself was gone, and Poe did not establish a magazine. [page 517:]

It may seem odd that Poe is claiming success for the BJ while simultaneously pursuing plans for a separate magazine. The answer lies in the fact that in addition to its financial troubles, the BJ was simply not the kind of periodical Poe wanted to run. A subscription to the BJ was $3 per year, while Poe sought a higher class product costing $5 per year. The BJ was also a weekly, with a tighter schedule and four times the attendant difficulties of producing a monthly. More importantly, Poe wanted a magazine of a fundamentally different character in terms of content. In an advertisement in the Democratic Review for March 1845, the BJ is described as “devoted mainly to the interests of Literature and Art, but will discuss all topics of interest to the people, with as much freedom as consists with decorum,” noting also that it is “to be known as an organ of sincere and unbiassed opinion.” Poe's prospectus for the Stylus, printed in the Philadelphia Saturday Museum, March 4, 1843, sets the following goals: “It will endeavor to be at the same time more varied and more unique; — more vigorous, more pungent, more original, more individual, and more independent. It will discuss not only the Belles-Lettres, but, very thoroughly, the Fine Arts, with the Drama: and, more in brief, will give, each month, a Retrospect of our Political History. It will enlist the loftiest talent, but employ it not always in the loftiest — at least not always in the most pompous or Puritanical way. It will aim at affording a fair and not dishonorable field for the true intellect of the land, without reference to the mere prestige of celebrated names. It will support the general interests of the Republic of Letters, and insist upon regarding the world at large as the sole proper audience for the author. It will resist the dictation of Foreign Reviews. It will eschew the stilted dulness of our own Quarterlies, and while it may, if necessary, be no less learned, will deem it wiser to be less anonymous, and difficult to be more dishonest, than they.” Although there is a sense of similarity in these two statements, there is a considerable difference in degree. While the BJ would be bound by “decorum,” the Stylus was to be “known as a journal wherein may be found, at all times, upon all subjects within its legitimate reach, a sincere and a fearless opinion.” For convenient reprints of three of Poe's prospectuses, as well as a discussion of Poe's shifting view of his magazine, see DP, pp. 213-229. For relevant comments by Poe on the nature and course of magazines and journalism, see “Marginalia” entries M-143 and M-182 in Writings, 2:248 and 2:308-309.

Source: photocopy of the original MS (1 p.) in the Enoch Pratt Free Library. The MS is a one leaf quarto, with the letter on page 1 and the address: “Neilson Poe Esq. / Baltimore / Md.” on page 4. The letter was [page 518:] postmarked at New York, August 8. Poe is replying to Neilson Poe's letter of ca. July 1845 (CL-552).

Letter 204 — 1845, August 9 [CL-554] Poe (New York, NY) to Thomas W. Field (New York, NY):

New-York: Aug. 9. 45

Dear Sir,

It is nearly a month since I received a note from you, requesting an interview — but, by some inadvertence, I placed it (your note) among my pile of “answered letters”. This will account to you for my seeming discourtesy in not sooner giving you an answer.

I have now to say that I shall be happy to see you at any time, at my residence 195 East Broadway. You will generally find me at home in the morning before 10.

Very Respy

Yr. Ob. St

Edgar A Poe

Mr Thomas W. Field.

Note: Thomas Warren Field (1820-1881) was a florist, schoolteacher, and poet who lived in Brooklyn and is mentioned in the DAB (6:376). The present letter is presumably the item referred to by a short comment in the BJ of August 16, 1845: “Mr. Thomas W. Field will find a letter for him at the office of the ‘Broadway Journal’ ” (Writings, 3:220). One can only speculate about the purpose and outcome of the “interview,” and only one other connection is known between Poe and this minor literary figure. The gracious tone of Poe's letter surely anticipates his reception of Field and intention of adding his name to Such Friends, as no. 132 (p. 24). The present letter shows Poe's address on August 9, 1845; he moved to 85 Amity Street before October 1 (see the note to LTR-215). For Poe's comment that he merely boarded at the present address, see LTR-239.

Source: photocopy of the original MS (1 p.), formerly in the collection of H. Bradley Martin, but currently unlocated. Poe is replying to a note from Field, ca. July 15, 1845 (CL-551). [page 519:]

Letter 205 — 1845, August 11 [CL-558] Poe (New York, NY) to Thomas H. Chivers (Oaky Grove, GA):

New-York: Aug. 11th / 45.

My Dear Friend,

Mr Bisco says to me that, with the loan of $50, for a couple of months, he would be put out of all difficulty in respect to the publication of the “Broadway Journal”. Its success is decided, and will eventually make us a fortune. It would be, therefore, a great pity that anything of a trifling nature (such as a want of $50) should interfere with our prospects. You know that I have no money at command myself, and therefore I venture to ask <for> you for the loan required. If you can aid us, I know you [will]. In 2 months certainly the money will be repaid.

My prospects about “Maga” are glorious. I will be with you in <ten weeks> 6 weeks from [this] date.

Cordially your friend

Edgar A Poe

Please reply as soon as possible. [There is] a [long review] of your Poems in the Southern Patriot. [I presume] you have seen [it]!

Note: In connection with the plea for $50, see LTR-207. LTR-211 includes a similar request only a few months later, directed towards R. W. Griswold. The financial situation of the BJ was more dire than Poe suggested in the present letter. Rather than needing the $50 for Bisco, Poe may have already been preparing to purchase Bisco's interest in the struggling journal, as he was to do more overtly by early October. In any case, he was being less than fully honest with his friend Chivers. Poe's proposed visit with Chivers in Georgia apparently was not made. For the review of Chivers’ The Lost Pleiad (New York: Edward O. Jenkins, 1845), see the note to LTR-140. The once familiar term “Maga,” a short reference to Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, may here reveal the extent of Poe's ambitions or dreams (see the note to LTR-82). For Poe's relations with Chivers in this regard, especially through the letters, see Savoye, “An Addendum to Ostrom's Revised Check List,” EAP Review, 2:19-21. See also, LTR-201a, and LTR-216. [page 520:]

Source: photocopy of the original MS (1 p.) in the Huntington Library. The MS is badly ink-stained from some composition written by Chivers on both recto and verso of the leaf; the postscript is especially illegible, but a collation with James Grant Wilson's printing of the letter in the Observer (New York, April 26, 1900) provides the above restorations. Both Wilson and the contents of the letter establish Chivers as the “Friend.” Chivers had written Poe three letters since Poe's last reply, thirteen months before: August 6, 1844 (CL-492), September 24, 1844 (CL-497), and before August 11, 1845 (see Chivers to Poe, September 9, 1845, CL-564).

Letter 206 — 1845, August 15 [CL-560] Poe (New York, NY) to Laughton Osborn (New York, NY):

New York August 15, ‘45

My Dear Mr. Osborn:

I am neither disposed, nor can I afford, to give up your friendship so easily; and, to preserve it, have no hesitation in overstepping the boundary-line of what is usually called editorial decorum.

In view of the public I am responsible for all that has appeared in “The Broadway Journal,” since the period when my name, as one of its editors, was placed upon its title-page. But, in fact, my connexion with the paper during the first six months of its existence, was simply that of contributor. With the making up of the journal — with the reception or rejection of communications — I had no more to do than yourself. The article to which you refer had never been seen by me until you pointed it out. It has the air of having been written by Mr. Benjamin himself.

I am happy in being able to re-assure you that whenever I have had occasion to speak of “The Vision of Rubeta,” I have borne testimony to its high merits. Your “Confessions of a Poet” I read many years ago, with a very profound sentiment of admiration for its author, and sympathy with what I supposed his real rather than his fictitious experiences — although until the receipt of your letter, I had been attributing the work to John Neal. In one or two instances I have [page 521:] written warmly in its defence — . I cannot understand how you can fail to perceive, intuitively, that I should appreciate your works. I did not doubt, for an instant, that you would place a proper estimate [page 2] upon mine. You will at least see that I am frank.

It is quite a coincidence that, although Halleck is the only poet of whom we both spoke cordially in approbation, on the night when I saw you, I should in his case, also, have been subjected to just such misconception as arose in your own. Some months ago there appeared in the “Broadway Journal” a very malevolent and flippant attack on “Alnwick Castle”, and this attack (since I had been known to write previous criticisms on poetical works, for the Journal,) was universally attributed to me — and even Halleck himself was misled — although in two biographies, and at least half a dozen long critiques — to say nothing of a public Lecture — I had uniformly treated him with respect. Nevertheless — for the sake of that “editorial courtesy” which I now violate, and by which I shall never consent to be bound again, I endured the loss of Mr Halleck's good will, until, by mere accident, he discovered that the offensive article had been written by a brother poet, Lowell, at the malicious instigation of my former associate, Mr Briggs — Mr Lowell especially requesting of Mr B. that the critique should not have the name of its author appended (as was usual with us in all cases of communication) but appear editorially — although he well knew that the odium would inevitably fall upon myself. — I hope you will see that you have been hasty. I hope this, because I am sincerely anxious that we shall continue friends.

With high respect & esteem

Edgar A. Poe

Note: In the present letter, Poe is attempting to placate Osborn's anger over a comment in the BJ of March 15, 1845. The slight appeared in an anonymous review of Park Benjamin's “Infatuation,” under the title of “Satirical Poems” (reprinted in H [Works], 12:107; Writings, 3:36-37). Poe had recently given a set of the journal to Osborn, not anticipating that Osborn would see this particular article and react with such intensity. Osborn's letter (CL-559), to which Poe is replying, reads in part: “With the copy of ‘Arthur C[arryl]’ (1841) which you had permitted me to present you, I took the liberty of enclosing, otherwise, ‘The Confessions [page 522:] of a Poet’ ... I was under the delusion that Mrs. Poe would take an interest in them ... You may judge my surprise when the first thing that struck my eyes on opening the nos. of the Journal was that delightable and very dainty passage ‘What is the Vision of Rubeta but an illimitable gilded swill trough overflowing with Dunciad and water,’ above which stands with its associates's names, the name of ‘Edgar A. Poe’ as editor. Who was the writer of this squill ... ” The BJ for March 8, 1845 (vol. I, no. 10) carried for the first time the names of its three editors: Charles Frederick Briggs, Edgar A. Poe, and Henry C. Watson. Though Poe privately disclaimed responsibility for this “squill” to Osborn, he was unquestionably the author. In addition to the fact that Poe signed the article with his initial in the copy of the BJ that he gave to Mrs. Whitman, other evidence would already be persuasive. A comparison of the BJ article with the other Poe writings clearly shows the same author. (See the opening paragraph of Poe's review of Wilmer's The Quacks of Helicon in Graham's, August 1841, reprinted in H [Works], 10:182; and the fifth paragraph of Poe's entry on Laughton Osborn in “The Literati” (Godey's Lady's Book, June 1846, reprinted in H [Works], 15:47). See also the first three paragraphs of Poe's review of Lowell's A Fable for Critics, in the SLM, March 1849, where the “squill” is repeated in nearly identical terms.) For more on Osborn's Confessions, see LTR-43. The “attack on ‘Alnwick Castle’ ” to which Poe refers in the letter appeared in the BJ, May 3, 1845 (1:281-283). The marked copy of the BJ, given to Mrs. Whitman in 1848, carries Poe's inscription of “J. R. Lowell” at the end of the Halleck critique. The style, being totally different from Poe's, also supports omitting this item from the canon. Under the circumstances, Poe is being overly suspicious or somewhat sly in charging Briggs with “malicious instigation.” Osborn's letter of August 16, 1845 (CL-561) shows that he accepted Poe's explanation. Their correspondence continued for at least several more months. Osborn contributed “The Magnetizer, or, Ready for Any Body” (a comedy in three acts) to the BJ for September 6, 13, and 20 (noted only as “by the author of ‘The Vision of Rubeta’ ”). He then sent Poe several translations of Italian sonnets, which Poe did not use, thus earning Osborn's anger anew (see CL-582).

Source: original MS (2 p.) in the Free Library of Philadelphia, Gimbel Collection. The address leaf has a small oval postmark, stamped “Aug. 16” and marked “Paid.” The Anderson catalog of December 7-8, 1909, part 2, item 1316, describes it as “the scarce 2 cents green Boyd's City Express” stamp. In the MS, the word “estimate” is broken across pages [page 523:] 1 and 2 as “esti-mate.” The Osborn letter (4 pp. 4to), which Poe is answering and which accompanied the Poe MS letter at the same sale, was written from 219 Eighth Avenue [New York], and was dated “Thursday morning, August 14, 48” (CL-559).

Letter 207 — 1845, August 29 [CL-563] Poe (New York, NY) to Thomas H. Chivers (Oaky Grove, GA):

New-York: Aug. 29.

My Dear Friend,

I sit down, in the midst of all the hurry of getting out the paper, to reply to your letter, dated 25th. What can you be thinking about? You complain of me for not doing things which I had no idea that you wanted done. Do you not see that my short letter to you was written on the very day in which yours was addressed to me? How, then, could you expect mine to be a reply to yours? You must have been making a voyage to “Dreamland”.

What you say about the $50, too, puzzles me. You write — “Well I suppose you must have it” — but it does not come. Is it possible that you mailed it in the letter? I presume not; but that you merely refer to your intention of sending it. For Heaven's sake do — as soon as you get this — for almost everything (as concerns the paper) depends upon it. It would be a thousand pities to give up just as every thing flourishes. As soon as, by hook or by crook, I can get Wiley & Putnam's book done, I shall have plenty of money — $500 at least — & will punctually repay you.

I have been making all kinds of inquiries about the “broken” money — but as yet have not found it. To day I am on a new scent & may possibly succeed. The “Southern Patriot” is published in Charleston. I have no copy — but you can see it anywhere on file [page 2] I presume, at Washington. The “Morning News” of this city had, also, a handsome notice, digested from mine in the B. J. Colton's Magazine will also have a favorable one. You may depend upon it that I will take good care of your interest & fame, but let me do it in my own way. [page 524:]

Thank you for the play — poems — and Luciferian Revelation — as soon as I get a chance I will use them. The L. R. is great — & your last poem is a noble one. I send on to day, the books you mention.

Virginia and Mrs Clemm send their warmest love to you & your wife & children. We all feel as if we knew your family.

God bless you, my friend.

Truly yours,


I have not touched a drop of the “ashes” since you left N. Y. — & I am resolved not to touch a drop as long as I live. I will be with you as soon as it is in any manner possible. I depend on you for the $50.

Note: At the time of the present letter, Poe was preparing his The Raven and Other Poems, published by Wiley & Putnam on November 19, 1845 (see TOM [RAOP], p. xi). By coincidence, Poe's well-known poem “Dream-Land” was issued in the June 1844 Graham's, and reprinted in the June 28, 1845 BJ. Concerning Poe's expectation of $500, see LTR-215. The reference to “broken” money concerns Chivers’ request that Poe find the Commercial Bank of Florida, in Wall Street, and obtain certain securities so that Chivers will not lose $210 on October 1 (Chivers to Poe, September 9, 1845, CL-564). The Southern Patriot reviewed Chivers’ The Lost Pleiad (see LTR-140), as Poe had previously cited in the postscript of LTR-205. Washington, GA, was near Oaky Grove, Chivers’ home. Chivers placed a cross after the “L. R.” on page 2, and noted at the end of the letter: “Alluding to a M.S. on Poetry, entitled Lyes Regalio, then in his possession”; he also placed a cross after “ashes” in the postscript, and explained: “This was written in allusion to my having asked him in one of my letters touching his intemperance — ‘What would God think of that Angel who should condescend to dust his feet in the ashes of Hell?’ ” Colton's Magazine was the American Review, which did not notice Chivers’ book of poetry. Poe had mentioned the $50 in LTR-205.

Source: photocopy of the original MS (2 pp.) in the Huntington Library. The year date is established by Chivers’ letter to Poe, September 9,1845 (CL-564): “I have just received your letter, dated the 29th of August.” The “Friend” is identified by his letter, just cited, and by the contents of the present one. Poe is replying to Chivers’ letter of August 25, 1845 (CL-562). [page 525:]

Letter 208 — 1845, September 10 [CL-565] Poe (New York, NY) to Evert A. Duyckinck (New York, NY):

My Dear Duyckinck,

I leave for you what I think the best of my Poems. They are very few — including those only which have not been published in volume form. If they can be made to fill a book, it will be better to publish them alone — but if not, I can hand you some “Dramatic Scenes” from the S. L. Messenger (2d Vol) and “Al Aaraaf” and “Tamerlane,” two juvenile poems of some length.

Truly yours


Wednesday 10th

Note: The growing fame of “The Raven,” and the moderate success of his Tales (New York: Wiley & Putnam, June 1845; see also the note to LTR-233) encouraged the same publishers to bring out Poe's poems as no. VIII in their series, Library of American Books (see TOM [RAOP], opposite p. xiv). The “Dramatic Scenes” were five scenes from “Politian,” the same selections printed in the SLM, December 1835 (2:13-16) and January 1836 (2:106-107). Poe borrowed the necessary volume of the SLM from Griswold (see LTR-210). Under the section called “Poems Written in Youth,” both “Al Aaraaf” and “Tamerlane” were reprinted from Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems (Baltimore: Hatch and Dunning, 1829), along with seven other poems from the same volume. Also included was “To Helen,” which had been reprinted in Lowell's article on Poe from Graham's (February 1845). In using the 1829 volume as his basic text, Poe ignored the extensive changes made to several of these poems in his 1831 collection. TOM [RAOP, p. x] says Poe “rejected the new versions of 1831,” but whether he actually preferred the older versions or was simply unable to secure a copy of the scarce 1831 Poems is uncertain. In LTR-179, Poe had already written Lowell that “I have been so negligent as not to preserve copies of any of my volumes of poems,” adding “nor was either worthy of preservation.” He had to borrow Al Aaraaf from his cousin, Elizabeth Herring, a copy which still carries his corrections (New York Public Library, Berg Collection). To emphasize the “juvenile” origins of the poems, Poe carefully modified the [page 526:] imprint date on the title page of this copy from 1829 to 1820. The precise time this alteration was made is unclear; it may have been done for the sake of showing Duyckinck, or for the Boston Lyceum presentation just a month later. In either case, Poe must have been unusually confident that the rarity of the volume would help to protect his secret.

Source: photocopy of the original MS (1 p.) in the New York Public Library, Manuscript Division. On the mounting of the MS is written “Sept. 10, 1845?” written in an unknown hand. The date is further established by the appearance of the cited poetic passages in The Raven and Other Poems, printed by November 19, actually published November 12, and first reviewed in the Evening Mirror, November 26, 1845 (see TOM [RAOP], pp. xi and xiv, and passim). Since “Wednesday 10th” in 1845 fell only in September and December, the letter can be dated with confidence as September 10, 1845.

Letter 209 — 1845, September 11 [CL-567] Poe (New York, NY) to Evert A. Duyckinck (New York, NY):

Thursday morning

My dear Sir

Your note of yesterday was not received until this morning.

I will call at your home to-night, about 8, in the hope of finding you disengaged.

Very truly yours,

Edgar A. Poe.

E. A. Duyckinck Esq.

Note: Poe is replying to Duyckinck's note of September 10, 1845 (CL-566), which is one of only a few letters Duyckinck is known to have written to Poe, though other notes or letters were probably sent.

Source: text of letter as first printed in TOM [RAOP], p. vii, from a transcript by TOM in the New York Public Library. The original MS was offered for sale in the Anderson Galleries catalog, May 15, 1922, item 512, as an a.l.s., 1 p. octavo, n.d. The date of the present letter was suggested by TOM [RAOP], and it seems justifiable, given its plausible relation to Poe's letter of September 10 (LTR-208) and in the absence of any contradictory evidence in the Poe-Duyckinck correspondence. [page 527:]

Letter 210 — 1845, September 28 [CL-568] Poe (New York, NY) to Rufus W. Griswold (Philadelphia, PA):

New-York: Sep. 28.

My Dear Griswold,

Please do not forget to send the S. L. Messenger — Vol 2. I will take especial care of it.

Truly yours


Note: Since the dramatic scenes from “Politian” were included in The Raven and Other Poems (pp. 31-51), Griswold must have sent the volume of the SLM as Poe requested. The contents of Poe's letter suggest either a conference with Griswold during one of his visits to New York, or an earlier letter from Poe, for which there is no other evidence. For Poe's need of the volume, see LTR-208.

Source: photocopy of the original MS (1 p.) in the Boston Public Library. Someone docketed the MS with “[1845?].” The envelope was cancelled in New York, September 29, and was addressed to Griswold in Philadelphia. The year is established by the fact that Griswold was living in Philadelphia in 1845, and by the obvious connection with LTR-208.

Letter 210a — 1845, September-October (?) [CL-571a] Poe (New York, NY) to Mrs. Frances S. Osgood (New York, NY):

[...] You compose with such astonishing facility that you can easily furnish me, quite soon enough, a poem that shall be equal to my reputation. For the love of God I beseech you to help me in this extremity. [...]

Note: Griswold (“Memoir,” Works, 3:xxii [1850]) established the context for the present letter thus: “When he accepted the invitation of the [Boston] Lyceum he intended to write an original poem, upon a subject which he said had haunted his imagination for years; but cares, anxieties, and feebleness of will, prevented; and a week before the appointed night, [page 528:] he wrote to a friend imploring assistance.” After quoting the letter, he continues, “The lady wrote him kindly, advising him judiciously, but promising to attempt the fulfilment of his wishes. She was, however, an invalid, and so failed.” His asterisked footnote follows: “This lady was the late Mrs. Osgood, and a fragment of what she wrote under these circumstances may be found in the last edition of her works under the title of ‘Lulin, or the Diamond Fay.’ ” As the editor of Mrs. Osgood's Poems (issued in December 1849), Griswold knew “Lulin” to be a complete poem of over 125 lines (pp. 89-94), but he may have wished to forestall conjectures by the reader of the “Memoir” about the efforts of Mrs. Osgood. Although she had grown seriously ill by the time the volume of her Poems was published, and died young (May 12, 1850), Griswold invented the claim of her invalidism in 1845. At that time, she was extremely active in literary gatherings, making frequent magazine contributions (often involving published verse and prose exchanges with Poe), and seems to have travelled with some frequency. Griswold, however, was accurate in speaking of the “cares” and “anxieties” of Poe as driving him to this entreaty, for he was desperately trying to raise money for the declining BJ and engaged in much “manoeuvring” for his sole “control” of the journal. See his letters of August through October, LTR-205, LTR-207, LTR-211, and especially LTR-213. In spite of his desperation, Poe declined to use the poem. Instead, he read part of his own “Al Aaraaf,” re-titled “The Messenger Star of Tycho Brahe,” later bragging, falsely, that he had written it when he was but 10 years old (TOM [Poems], 1:559). Silverman notes that Osgood's poem “echoed Drake's ‘The Culprit Fay,’ which Poe loathed” (p. 496). She apparently was unaware of Poe's aversion to this “sublimely ridiculous” poem (see SLM, 2:318-26; Writings, 5:166-171). Ironically, it may have been Poe's short “parody” of section XXV of Drake's poem, included in his April 1836 SLM review (2:330), that inspired Osgood to pattern her offering in title, theme, and general tone after Drake's then still popular poem (see Silverman, p. 286).

Source: text of the fragment as quoted by Griswold in his “Memoir,” Works, 3:xxii [1850]. Ostrom labels this letter “questionable” in his “Revised Check List” (1981), but TOM [Iowa] accepts it. Following the note of Phillips (2:1050-1051), he dates it first “After September 1, 1845,” and then “Perhaps early October?” — a week before the Boston Lyceum performance of October 16, 1845. LTR-214 seems to offer further confirmation of the authenticity of the present letter. [page 529:]

Letter 211 — 1845, October 26 [CL-574] Poe (New York, NY) to Rufus W. Griswold (Philadelphia, PA):

New-York : Oct. 26. 45.

My Dear Griswold,

Will you aid me at a pinch — at one of the greatest pinches conceivable? If you will, I will be indebted to you, for life. After a prodigious deal of manoeuvring, I have succeeded in getting the “Broadway Journal” entirely within my own control. It will be a fortune to me if I can hold it — and I can do it easily with a very trifling aid from my friends. May I count you as one? Lend me $50 and you shall never have cause to regret it.

Truly yours,

Edgar A Poe

Reply by return of mail, if possible.

Note: The present letter is but one of several in a similar vein, written to various correspondents (Chivers, Kennedy, E. A. Duyckinck, George Poe, and Halleck) from whom Poe sought to borrow money with the goal of keeping the BJ alive. Of these men, only Greeley, Halleck, and perhaps Chivers are known to have actually loaned him money. (For the loan from Greeley, see Poe's promissory note, PN-4 in APXB.) Poe came into full possession of the BJ on October 24, 1845 (see Quinn, pp. 752-753), but it continued to be plagued with financial problems and in a few months would cease publication entirely. Although Griswold also claimed to have sent the requested money, he does so by forging a letter from Poe of November 1, 1845 (see SPR-9).

Source: photocopy of the original MS (1 p.) in the Boston Public Library. The envelope, a separate leaf, is directed to Dr. Rufus W. Griswold, Philadelphia, PA, and cancelled at New York, October 27.

Letter 212 — 1845, October 26 [CL-575] Poe (New York, NY) to Mrs. Sarah J. Hale (Philadelphia, PA):

My Dear Madam, [page 530:]

I have been a week absent from the city, and have been overwhelmed with business since my return — may I beg you, therefore, to pardon my seeming discourtesy in not sooner thanking you for your sweet poem, and for the high honor you confer on me in the matter of your proposed volume? Undoubtedly, it would give me great pleasure to hear from you farther on the subject, or to be of any service to you in any manner that you may suggest. — I have some acquaintance with Mess. Clark and Austin, and believe that you will find them, as publishers, every thing that you could wish.

Command me, my Dear Madam, in all things, and believe me

Very Respectfully & Truly Yours

Edgar A Poe.

Mrs S. J. Hale.

New-York : Octo. 26 — 45.

Note: Poe lectured before the Boston Lyceum on October 16, 1845. In addition to the usual effort of preparing the magazine, and tending to the matters of subscribers, distribution, and advertising, his “business” included raising money to buy the BJ (see the beginning of LTR-216). Mrs. Hale's “sweet poem” may have been her Alice Ray: A Romance in Rhyme (Philadelphia: A. Scott, 1845), which Poe reviewed in the BJ, November 1, 1845 (2:256-257), calling it “truly beautiful” and praising it generously for “delicacy and fancy,” “truthful simplicity and grace of manner,” and “point and force of expression” (reprinted in Writings, 3:292-294). Regarding the “proposed volume,” perhaps a projected collection of Mrs. Hale's poems, see LTR-225. In the BJ of November 1, 1845 (2:263) appears the comment, “Mrs. Sarah Josepha Hale is preparing for press a collection of her poems. Messrs. Clark & Austin will, most probably, be the publishers.” In 1845, Clark & Austin printed volumes of poems by N. P. Willis and Alfred B. Street, and another of poems by Mrs Osgood (reviewed in BJ, December 13, 1845, 2:353-355; Writings, 3:350). Poe's “acquaintance” with these publishers may have been chiefly through his reviews in the BJ of their books.

Source: photocopy of the original MS (1 p.), formerly in the collection of William H. Koester, and now in the Humanities Research Center of the University of Texas at Austin. The envelope is postmarked at New York, October 27, and is addressed to “Mrs. S. J. Hale / Philadelphia / Pa.” Poe is replying to Mrs. Hale's letter of ca. October 20 (CL-573). [page 531:]

Letter 213 — 1845, October 26 [CL-576] Poe (New York, NY) to John P. Kennedy (Baltimore, MD):

New-York: Octo. 26. 45.

My Dear Mr Kennedy,

When you were in New-York I made frequent endeavours to meet you — but in vain — as I was forced to go to Boston.

I stand much in need of your aid, and beg you to afford it me, if possible — for the sake of the position which you already have enabled me to obtain. By a series of manoeuvres almost incomprehensible to myself, I have succeeded in getting rid, one by one, of all my associates in “The Broadway Journal”, and (as you will see by last week's paper) have now become sole editor and owner. It will be a fortune to me if I can hold it — and if I can hold it for one month I am quite safe — as you shall see. I have exhausted all my immediate resources in the purchase — and I now write to ask you for a small loan — say $50. I will punctually return it in 3 months.

Most truly yours,

Edgar A. Poe

Hon. J. P. Kennedy.

Note: At the time of Kennedy's October visit to New York, Poe made at least one attempt to see his old friend, but finding him absent, left a card. Poe was obliged to travel to Boston to participate in a lecture (see LTR-212 and note). Poe asked loans of various friends at this time, with only partial success. Kennedy did not send the money, saying, “Good wishes are pretty nearly all the capital I have for such speculations” (Kennedy to Poe, December 1, 1845, CL-593). He closed his letter, however, with a warm invitation to Poe to visit him at any time he came to Baltimore. As usual, Poe speaks of “manoeuvres” with a military sense, or to imply a stratagem, perhaps a trace of his experiences as a soldier. (See LTR-107 for a more overt reference of this sort.) Poe normally uses the Gallic spelling of “manoeuvres,” and never with the customary American ending in “er.” (For seventeen instances in the tales see Pollin, Word Index, p. 207.) Poe's own “manoeuvres” to secure control over the BJ have been thoroughly studied and analyzed, acknowledging the force of the present letter, by Heyward Ehrlich (“The B J: Briggs’ Dilemma and [page 532:] Poe's Strategy,” Bulletin of the NYPL, 73:74-93; reprinted in Writings, 4:xii-xxxii). In the present letter, and in LTR-211 and LTR-217, Poe uses the word “fortune” with an eagerness and conviction that approach a “Gold-Bug” type of fiction. For Poe's claim that the BJ “flourishes” only a few months before the present letter, see LTR-203; for the ultimate failure of the BJ, see LTR- 225, and note.

Source: photocopy of the original MS (1 p.) in the Peabody Institute Library. This is the last known letter from Poe to Kennedy.

Letter 214 — 1845, late October [CL-580] Poe (New York, NY) to Mrs. Frances S. Osgood (New York, NY):

My Dear Madam,

Through some inadvertence at the Office of the B. Journal, I failed to receive your kind and altogether delightful note until this morning. Thank you a thousand times for your sweet poem, and for the valued words of flattery which accompanied it.

Business, of late, has made of me so great a slave that I shall not be able to spend an evening with you until Thursday next.

[Signature missing]

Note: Along with the MS of his valentine to Mrs. Osgood (1846), this small, gracious note is a rare surviving relic of what were presumably many discreet but flirtatious exchanges between the two friends, also evident through several pseudonymously signed poems printed in well-known public journals. The last half of October was a very stressful period for Poe: the return from the much publicized and criticized Lyceum performance on October 16 (Quinn, p. 485), the transfer of the BJ control to Poe (as of October 24, 1845; see Quinn, pp. 752-753, and also LTR-213), and the burgeoning friendship with “Ellen King,” the pen name of Fanny Osgood. Although “The Divine Right of Kings” was never acknowledged by Poe, the poem has been attributed to his pen by various scholars, including TOM [Poems, 1:382-385], Whitty (second edition, 1917, p. 150), and Pollin (“Alexander Pope and His Works in the Writings of EAP,” EAP Review, 4:56). Poe, of course, entered Mrs. Osgood's name into Such Friends as no. 251 (p. 32). [page 533:]

Source: photocopy of the original MS (fragment, 1 p.) in the Humanities Research Center of the University of Texas at Austin. The address leaf is lost. Poe's reference to the BJ fixes the place and year, and “late October” is suggested by his lecture engagement before the Boston Lyceum, and by the press of business incident to his taking over the control of the BJ, as well as the period of his preparations for The Raven and Other Poems (see LTR-208 and LTR-210). Though the letter is unsigned, the handwriting is definitely Poe's. The original letter seems to have been a small single leaf, folded once, the message being written on page 1, the lower portion of which has been removed. It is possible that the letter was continued beyond what has survived, since the signature is lacking and pages 3 and 4 have been torn off. The most likely place for additional text would be the verso of page 1, but there are no ink marks to support this contention. A floral design appears just above the salutation. Someone, perhaps Griswold, has written at the head of page 1, “Poe to Mrs Osgood,” a reasonable conjecture given the content of the note, which seems to fit with LTR-210a. Assuming that this identification is correct, the poem mentioned was probably “Lulin; or, The Diamond Fay,” offered as a substitute for the poem Poe had promised but found himself unable to produce for the reading. Mrs. Osgood's note, cited by Poe, is otherwise unknown, its date being merely before late October, 1845 (CL-579).

Letter 215 — 1845, November 13 [CL-583] Poe (New York, NY) to Evert A. Duyckinck (New York, NY):

Thursday Morning — 13th.

85 Amity St.

My Dear Mr Duyckinck,

For the first time during two months I find myself entirely myself — dreadfully sick and depressed, but still myself. I seem to have just awakened from some horrible dream, in which all was confusion, and suffering — relieved only by the constant sense of your kindness, and that of one or two other considerate friends. I really believe that I have been mad — but indeed I have had abundant reason to be so. I have made up my mind to a step which will preserve me, for the future, from at least the greater portion of the troubles which have beset me. [page 534:] In the meantime, I have need of the most active exertion to extricate myself from the embarrassments into which I have already fallen — and my object in writing you this note is, (once again) to beg your aid. Of course I need not say to you that my most urgent trouble is the want of ready money. I find that what I said to you about the prospects of the B. J. is strictly correct. The most trifling immediate relief would put it on an excellent footing. All that I want is time in which to look about me; and I think that it is your power to afford me this.

I have already drawn from Mr Wiley, first $30 — then 10 (from yourself) — then 50 (on account of the “Parnassus”) — then 20 (when I went to Boston) — and finally 25 — in all 135. Mr Wiley owes me, for the Poems, 75, and admitting that 1500 of the Tales have been sold, and that I am to receive 8 cts a copy — the amount which you named, if I remember — [page 2] admitting this, he will owe me $120 on them: — in all 195. Deducting what I have received there is a balance of 60 in my favor. If I understood you, a few days ago, Mr W. was to settle with me in February. Now, you will already have anticipated my request. It is that you would ask Mr W. to give me, to-day, in lieu of all farther claim, a certain sum whatever he may think advisable. So dreadfully am I pressed, that I would willingly take even the $60 actually due, (in lieu of all farther demand) than wait until February: — but I am sure that you will do the best for me that you can.

Please send your answer to 85 Amity St. and believe me — with the most sincere friendship and ardent gratitude


Edgar A Poe.

Note: Poe's “embarrassments” probably had to do, in part at least, with his securing loans for the purchase of the BJ (see the note to LTR-211 and LTR-216). The detailed accounting of debits and credits is typical of Poe's apparently scrupulous care in such matters (see LTR-164a). Poe lectured in Boston, October 16, 1845 (see the note to LTR-185). Concerning the “Parnassus” (Poe's projected Literary America), see LTR-201; also LTR-240 and note). For the publication of the “Poems,” see the note to LTR-208. This is Poe's earliest surviving reference to his Amity [page 535:] Street address in New York (see the note to LTR-239), but a letter from Laughton Osborn to Poe, October 1, 1845 (CL-572), speaks of Poe as living at 85 Amity Street. In 1999 New York University made known its plan to demolish this building (by then reclassified as 85 W. 3rd Street, at Washington Square) to erect a large Law School structure. For accounts of the subsequent efforts to save the dwelling, with details of the negotiations and graphic illustrations, see the EAP Review, Spring 2000, 1:72-77; Fall, 2:89-91; and Spring 2001, 2:97-107.

Source: photocopy of the original MS (2 pp.) in the New York Public Library, Manuscript Division. On the mounting of the letter, in an unknown hand, appears: “Nov. 13, 1845.” Since the thirteenth fell on Thursday only in February, March, and November in 1845, and the reference to the Tales necessitates a date after June of that year, November seems the obvious choice. The envelope is addressed: “Evert A. Duyckinck Esqr./ 20 Clinton Place.” No reply to the present letter is known.

Letter 216 — 1845, November 15 [CL-585] Poe (New York, NY) to Thomas H. Chivers (Oaky Grove, GA):

New-York: Nov. 15. 45

My Dear Friend —

Beyond doubt you must think that I treat you ill in not answering your letters — but it is utterly impossible to conceive how busy I have been. The Broadway Journals I now send, will give you some idea of the reason. I have been buying out the paper, and of course you must be aware that I have had a tough time of it — making all kind of maneuvres — and editing the paper, without aid from any one, all the time. I have succeeded, however, as you see — bought it out entirely, and paid for it all, with the exception of 140 $ which will fall due on the lrst of January next. I will make a fortune of it yet. You see yourself what a host of advertising I have. For Heaven's sake, my dear friend, help me now if you can — at once — for now is my time of peril. If I live until next month I shall be beyond the need of aid. If you can send me the $45, for Heaven's sake do it, by return of mail — or if not all, a part. Time with me now, is money & money more than [page 536:] time. I wish you were here that I might explain to you my hopes & prospects — but in a letter it is impossible — for remember that I have to do everything myself edit the paper — get it to press — and attend to [page 2] the multitudinous business besides.

Believe me — will you not? — my dear friend — that it is through no want of disposition to write you that I have failed to do so: — the moments I now spend in penning these words are gold themselves — & more. By & bye I shall have time to breathe — and then I will write you fully.

You are wrong (as usual) about Arch?tas & Or?on — both are as I accent them. Look in any phonographic Dictionary — say Bolles. Besides, wherever the words occur in <poe> ancient poetry, they are as I give them. What is the use of disputing an obvious point? You are wrong too, throughout, in what you say about the poem “Orion” — there is not the shadow of an error, in its rhythm, from ? to ?.

Never dreamed that you did not get the paper regularly until Bisco told me it was not sent. You must have thought it very strange.

So help me Heaven, I have sent and gone personally in all the nooks & corners of Broker-Land & such a thing as the money you speak of — is not to be obtained.

[page 3] Write soon — soon — & help me if you can. I send you my Poems.

God bless you —

E. A. P.

We all send our warmest love to yourself, your wife & family.

Note: For Poe's purchase of the BJ, see the note to LTR-214; for his loss of it, see Quinn, p. 494. In the postscript to Chivers’ letter of October 30 is a promise of $45, to be sent “soon”; whether it ever came is unknown. “Orion” was a poem by the Englishman R. H. Horne, and was lengthily reviewed by Poe in Graham's, March 1844 (24:136-141; reprinted in H [Works], 11:249-275). Poe's “Poems” refers to The Raven and Other Poems (see the note to LTR-207); what he sent Chivers was apparently an advance copy. Poe is incorrect about the pronunciation of the name [page 537:] Archytas, with a long “y” in the second syllable, which does have the main ictus of the word (see the Oxford Companion to Classical Literature). Oddly enough, the name of this Greek philosopher from Tarentum, of the 4th century B.C., does not appear in Bolles’ Explanatory and Phonographic Pronouncing Dictionary which Poe had favorably and lengthily reviewed in the June 14, 1845 BJ (see Writings, 3:148-149). Poe's rudeness in this “correction” of Chivers’ accentuation may stem from his frustrated hopes for monetary aid, often promised by Chivers, but always dashed by his well-to-do correspondent's denials.

Source: photocopy of the original MS (3 pp.) in the Huntington Library. The identity of Chivers as the “Friend” is established by Chivers’ letters to Poe, September 9 (CL-564, concerning the “Florida bank” and the “broken money”), and October 30, 1845 (CL-577, concerning the pronunciation of “Archytas”).

Letter 217 — 1845, November 30 [CL-586] Poe (New York, NY) to George Poe, Jr. (late of Mobile, AL / Georgetown, DC):

New-York : Nov. 30. 45.

Dear Sir,

Since the period when (no doubt for good reasons) you declined aiding me with the loan of $50, I have perseveringly struggled, against a thousand difficulties, and have succeeded, although not in making money, still in attaining a position in the world of Letters, of which, under the circumstances, I have no reason to be ashamed.

For these reasons — because I feel that I have exerted myself to the utmost — and because I believe that you will appreciate my efforts to elevate the family name — I now appeal to you once more for aid.

With this letter I send you a number of “The Broadway Journal” of which, hitherto, I have been merely editor and one third proprietor. I have lately purchased the whole paper — and, if I can retain it, it will be a fortune to me in a short time: — but I have exhausted all my resources in the purchase. In this emergency I have thought that you might not be indisposed to assist me. The loan of $200 would put me above all difficulty. [page 538:]

I refrain from saying any more — for I feel that if your heart is kindly disposed towards me, I have already [...]

[rest of the MS. cut off]

Note: No previous letter is known from Poe to George Poe, Jr. requesting a loan of $50, suggesting an unlisted exchange (CL-585a and CL-585b) between Poe and George Poe prior to November 30, 1845 and after the present letter. Concerning Poe's purchase of the BJ, and the associated flurry of attempts to secure various loans, see LTR-211. For more about George Poe, Jr. and his previous financial assistance to Mrs. Clemm, see LTR-53.

Source: photocopy of the original MS (1 p.) in the Enoch Pratt Free Library. The envelope (page 4 of a folded leaf) is addressed to “George Poe Jr Esqr / (late of Mobile) / Georgetown / D. C.” and is postmarked at New York, December 1. George Poe endorsed the letter: “Edgar A. Poe / 30th Nov 1845 / recd 3 Decr / [blot, probably “not”] ans.” The holograph has been cut off at the bottom of page 1, although probably not more than one line and the signature are missing. This is the last known letter from Poe to George Poe, and no reply is known.

Letter 217a — 1845, November [CL-587] Poe (New York, NY) to Charles Campbell (Petersburg, VA):

Note: Charles Campbell (1807-1876) was an author and historian. He contributed a number of articles to the SLM, beginning shortly after Poe left the magazine (see Jackson, Poe and the SLM, pp. 26, 33, 41 and other references in the index). The present letter (postmarked December 5, 1845) is but one of several which were made from some facsimile copying process, probably anastatic printing. (For the full text, see LTR-218.) These letters were made from Poe's autograph, and look essentially as if Poe wrote them all by hand, but are the result of a process which permitted a kind of “mass” production. The original letter from which the printing was done is undoubtedly lost. There are at least five other copies of this circular letter extant, recorded here as LTR-218, LTR-218a, LTR-218b, LTR-218c, and LTR-218d. Each letter carries a different address, but are identical in wording, lining, and dating, and, except for LTR-218d, alike in punctuation. Each is printed on page 1 of a quarto leaf, and [page 539:] addressed on page 4 (except, again, LTR-218d, which was not available for direct inspection, but probably conforms to the others). See Poe's article on “Anastatic Printing” in BJ, April 12, 1845 (reprinted in H [Works], 14:153-159, and Writings, 3:83-86). In the essay, Poe gives an enthusiastic endorsement of the process, predicting that it “will revolutionize the world” by providing a cheap, personal, quick, and widely available means of reproducing anything hand written or printed or sketched in ink. Ultimately, he hoped to use this process to achieve freedom from exploitive publishers. (See Writings, 4:64-65, for his sources and the link to the essay as well as his interest in avoiding typographic blunders by using expressive and fine autography.) For Poe's early comments on the connection between handwriting and temperament or character, see “Autography” (SLM, February 1836, 2:205-206). For his continued interest, in a less jocular tone, while preparing his notes for “The Living Writers,” see Pollin, SAR 1991, p. 169, n. 98.

Source: photocopy of the original anastatic letter (1 p.) in the Morgan Library. The letter is addressed to Charles Campbell, Petersburg, VA, and postmarked New York, December 5. No letter from Campbell to Poe is known. Since the letter text was originally given in The Letters [1948] as LTR-218, it has been allowed to remain there.

Letter 218 — 1845, November [CL-588] Poe (New York, NY) to George Watterston (Washington, DC):

Dr Sir,

If I am not mistaken, you were one of the earliest subscribers to “The Southern Literary Messenger”, and aided me very materially while it remained under my control. For this reason, and because I am naturally anxious for the support of those whose good opinion I value — because, too, I believe that my objects, as regards our National Literature, are such as your judgment approves — I venture now frankly to solicit your subscription and influence for “The Broadway Journal”, of which I send you a specimen number.

With high respect

Yr. Mo. Ob. St.

Edgar A: Poe.

New-York. Nov. 1845. [page 540:]

Note: George Watterston (1783-1854), novelist and critic, contributed to the SLM (see Jackson, Poe and the SLM, pp. 52-54), and was the third librarian of Congress (1815-1829). Poe also shared other interests with Watterston, chiefly the construction of a Washington Monument, aborted by 1845 in New York City, as Poe's satirical “Mellonta Tauta” of 1847-1848 shows. See the article on Watterston in the DAB, and also Pollin, “Politics and History in Poe's ‘Mellonta Tauta,’ ” Studies in Short Fiction, 8:627-631. The printed date of November, the same on all of the extant copies, is misleading since each specifically bears a dated postmark in early December, perhaps showing Poe's anxiety about the moribundity of the BJ with an attempt to stir up public concern and a fresh influx of helpful cash or loans in the words “support ... solicit your subscription and influence.” We may assume that the printing was part of his “desperate measures,” along with his appeal to Halleck (see LTR-219) at the start of the month. Everything typifies his undying hopes.

Source: photocopy of the original anastatic letter (1 p.) in the Library of Congress, Watterston Papers. The letter was addressed to “Geo. Watterston Esqr./ Washington/ D.C.,” and was postmarked at New York, December 2. The address appears on page 4 of the folded leaf, and the inner two pages are blank. No letter from Watterston to Poe is known.

Letter 218a — 1845, November [CL-589] Poe (New York, NY) to William Green (Culpeper, C. H., VA):

Note: The present letter is another copy of LTR-218 (postmarked December 5, 1845). Poe's correspondent is presumably the same William Green (1806-1880) who prepared appendix material for an edition of George Wythe's Decisions of cases in Virginia, by the High Court of Chancery [1788-1799]: with remarks upon decrees of the Court of Appeals, reversing some of those decisions (Richmond: J. W. Randolph, 1852). The memoir of Wythe in the same volume was written by B. B. Minor, who edited the SLM (1843-1847). Green seems to have been associated with the University of Richmond, School of Law.

Source: photocopy of the original anastatic letter (1 p.) in the Huntington Library. The letter is addressed to “Wm. Green Esq. / Culpepper C. H. / Va.” and postmarked New York, December 8. It differs from the Watterston letter only in having a silverfish hole in the lower right portion of the text. No letter from Green to Poe is known. [page 541:]

Letter 218b — 1845, November [CL-589a] Poe (New York, NY) to William P. Smith (Gloucester, C. H., VA):

Note: Yet another copy of LTR-218 (postmarked December 8, 1845). The identity of William P. Smith is unknown beyond the presumption that he was a subscriber to the SLM.

Source: original copy of the anastatic letter in the Lilly Library, Indiana University. No letter from Smith to Poe is known.

Letter 218c — 1845, November [CL-589b] Poe (New York, NY) to John B. Morris (Baltimore, MD):

Note: Another copy of LTR-218 (postmarked December 8, 1845), sent to John B. Morris. A successful lawyer and businessman, Morris wrote Memorial to the Legislature of Maryland (Baltimore: Lucas & Deaver, 1836), concerning the financial collapse of the Bank of Maryland. For more information on Morris, see LTR-163c.

Source: original copy of the anastatic letter in the Library of Congress, Banteholder Collection. No letter from Morris to Poe is known, and there is only one other letter from Poe to Morris (LTR-163c).

Letter 218d — 1845, November [CL-590] Poe (New York, NY) to — ? (— ?):

Note: This one copy of LTR-218, which may be the same item as LTR-218c, shows slightly differing accidentals. On p. 324 this letter shows the following variants (first in each entry) from the others: respect = respect, / York. = York / Edgar A. = Edgar A:. The most likely cause of these discrepancies is that the plate used for the facsimile was retouched. When Robertson's impressive collection was given to the Poe Museum in Richmond, no copy of Poe's anastatic letter was present, clearly indicating that he had reproduced it from some other source, regrettably one now not readily identifiable.

Source: facsimile of the anastatic letter appearing in the Robertson volume of 1921, properly called EAP: A Study (San Francisco: Bruce [page 542:] Brough, 1921; reprinted, NY: Haskell House, 1970). See Dameron and Cauthen, Bibliography of Criticism, pp. 209-210, items R83-R85, for variant editions, with major shifts of large sections of Robertson's psychological plus bibliographical materials (1921, 1923, 1934).

Letter 219 — 1845, December 1 [CL-592] Poe (New York, NY) to Fitz-Greene Halleck (New York, NY):

New York, Dec. 1, 1845.

My Dear Mr. Halleck:

On the part of one or two persons who are much imbittered against me, there is a deliberate attempt now being made to involve me in ruin, by destroying The Broadway Journal. I could easily frustrate them, but for my total want of money, and of the necessary time in which to procure it: the knowledge of this has given my enemies the opportunities desired.

In this emergency — without leisure to think whether I am acting improperly — I venture to appeal to you. The sum I need is $100. If you could loan me for three months any portion of it, I will not be ungrateful.

Truly yours,

Edgar A. Poe.

Note: According to James Grant Wilson (Life and Letters of Fitz-Greene Halleck, pp. 430-431), Halleck sent the money, but it was never repaid. Wilson states: “The unfortunate Poet's unpaid note for one hundred dollars is in the hands of one of Hallock's [sic] surviving friends, to whom it was given as an autograph ...  .” (Observer, New York, April 26, 1900, p. 528). No letter from Halleck enclosing the loan is known. For Poe's various attempts to borrow money to save the BJ, see his letters for the closing months of 1845. In spite of all of his efforts, the magazine died in January 1846 (see LTR-225, and note).

Source: transcript of the letter as printed in James Grant Wilson's Life and Letters of Fitz-Greene Halleck, p. 431. The original MS is probably lost. This is Poe's third and last known letter to Halleck. Poe's spelling of “imbittered” was an early form, accepted into the 19th century. [page 543:]

Letter 220 — 1845, December 10 [CL-594] Poe (New York, NY) to Evert A. Duyckinck (New York, NY):

My Dear Mr Duyckinck,

If you could get the enclosed article (by Mrs Ellett) in the Morning News, editorially, I would take it as a great favor.

Truly yours,


Dec. 10.

If it cannot go in, please preserve for me.

Note: The request in the present letter is similar to others made of Duyckinck; also there seems to be some connection to the letters from Mrs. Ellett to Poe of the same period (see the note to LTR-290). John L. O’Sullivan (a leader of the Young American group and inventor of the phrase “Manifest Destiny”) asked Duyckinck to join the editorial staff of the Morning News, an arrangement which lasted from 1844 through 1846. Like N. P. Willis, Duyckinck's prominence in literary circles, and his generally amiable personality, made him a valuable asset for Poe.

Source: color photograph of the original MS (1 p.), sold by MastroNet on Nov. 14, 2002. The letter is addressed on the verso as “E. A. Duyckinck Esq.” and was apparently delivered by hand. The letter undoubtedly belongs to 1845, for by December 1846, Poe and Elizabeth F. Ellett were not on friendly terms.

Letter 220a — 1845 [CL-602a] Poe (New York, NY) to — ? (— ?) [possibly Evert A. Duyckinck (New York, NY)]:

Do you know anything of a work on Oil Painting lately published and sent (if I am not mistaken) by Mess. W & P. to the office of the B. J. ?

Yours &c

Edgar A. Poe

Saturday Morning.

The 1rst vol of “The Wandering Jew” you can get from Mr English. [page 544:]

Note: This note seems to refer to a recent publication by Wiley & Putnam, sent for review by Poe in the BJ. Though the correspondent is not identified, he may well have been Evert A. Duyckinck, friend of Poe and reader for the Wiley & Putnam firm. The book is probably Laughton Osborn's Handbook of Young Artists and Amateurs in Oil Painting (New York: Wiley & Putnam, 1845). Although it was published anonymously, as “by an American Artist,” Poe refers to it in his “Literati” entry on Osborn as a “Treatise on Oil Painting,” commenting: “This work is highly spoken of by those well qualified to judge, but is, I believe, principally a compilation or compendium” (Godey's, June 1846, 32:272). “Mr English” refers to Thomas Dunn English, who at this time was on friendly terms with Poe. For Poe's keen interest in Eugène Sue's popular book The Wandering Jew, see Pollin, “The Living Writers of America” in SAR 1991, pp. 151-211, which includes Poe's long review of Henry W. Herbert's translation of the book (pp. 201-211); note, also, p. 199, n. 151 for his interesting life and Poe's varying views of the man. See also Savoye, “A Lost Roll of Marginalia,” EAP Review, 3:52-72 for the same item, but in the correct context and with a small fragment missing from the previous printing.

Source: facsimile in the Anderson Galleries catalog, January 17-18, 1928, item 369. Neither place, date, nor correspondent is given, but the reference to the BJ almost certainly identifies the year as 1845. E. A. Duyckinck seems a reasonable suggestion since he was associated with Poe and also Wiley & Putnam. The original MS (probably 1 page) is unlocated. No reply to the present letter is known.

Letter 220b — 1845 [CL-602b] Poe (New York, NY) to William M. Gillespie (New York, NY):

Note: This letter has been reassigned as LTR-193b.

Letter 221 — 1845-1846 [CL-603] Poe (New York, NY) to — ? (— ?):

Note: This item is now considered a forgery, and has been moved to, SPR-10. [page 545:]

Letter 221alate 1845 - early 1846 [CL-603a] Poe (New York, NY) to — ? (New York, NY):


I leave this note, and will return for your answer in half an hour. Should you not be in when I call, may I ask you to address me a note at 85 Amity St? — by despatch.

Truly yours

Edgar A. Poe

Note: Given the nature of this fragment, without context or even a correspondent, little can be speculated about the question for which the writer seems so eager to have an answer. During the last few months of 1845, Poe was deeply engaged in efforts first to purchase the BJ and later to keep it afloat. (The debts connected with the BJ, which Poe assumed in acquiring ownership, ultimately contributed to the collapse of the enterprise.) Either of these circumstances might explain the slightly desperate tone of the present letter. Poe's request for a reply “by despatch” may indicate the City Despatch Post, a special delivery service operating in New York and marked on several of Poe's letters of this period (see LTR-188, LTR-199, and LTR-200a). Started in February 1842 by Alexander M. Greig and Henry T. Thomas, the City Despatch Post was absorbed by the US Postal Service in September of the same year. Unlike regular postal service, the Despatch charged slightly more but delivered directly to addresses, up to three times a day. It remained in business until 1854.

Source: color photograph of the MS (fragment, 1 p.) in the collection of Michael J. Deas. The letter was apparently trimmed and glued to the front inside cover of a book, perhaps a nineteenth century copy of Poe's poems. The type of glue suggests that this was done before 1900. This board was later removed, with the fragment still attached, and framed. Opening the frame to examine the note shows that it is regrettably cut off just above the text printed above, losing as much as 1/3 to 1/2 of the original letter. Also removed is the name of Poe's correspondent, which was presumably given in the salutation, or written on the back. Although the provenance for the fragment is sparse, and the content of the note somewhat inconclusive, expert analysis of the handwriting, ink, and especially of the paper supports its authenticity. The dating is established [page 546:] by the reference to 85 Amity Street (where Poe was living from about October 1845-March 1846) and the probable connection to the BJ, which effectively ceased publication at the end of 1845.




One page is accounted for in the pagination but not included in the text above because it is a blank back page. This is page 484.


[S:0 - CLT08, 2008] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Editions - The Collected Letters of Edgar Allan Poe (Ostrom, Pollin and Savoye) (Chapter 07)