Text: J. W. Ostrom, B. R. Pollin, and J. A. Savoye, “Chapter 08,” The Collected Letters of Edgar Allan Poe — Vol. I: 1824-1845 (2008), pp. 547-614 (This material is protected by copyright)


[page 547, unnumbered:]



The Immemorial Year

Letter 222-246a: January 1846-December 1846

[page 549:]

Letter 222 — 1846, January 3 [CL-605] Poe (New York, NY) to Charles G. Percival (Utica, NY):

New-York: Jany — 3. 46.

85 Amity St.

Chas. G. Percival Esqr

Dr Sir,

A few moments of leisure leave me at liberty to look at the cypher which you have done me the honor of submitting to my inspection. It is an illegitimate cryptograph — that is to say, the chances are, that, even with the key, it would be insoluble by the authorized correspondent. Upon analysis, however, independent of the key-solution, I find the translation to be the 3 first verses of the 2d chapter of St John.

Very Respy

Yr Ob. St

Edgar A Poe

I should be happy to hear from you in reply.

Note: Beyond the present letter, nothing is known about Charles G. Percival. Based on an examination of Percival’s original letter, Poe’s concerns about the cryptograph, comprised entirely of numbers, are unwarranted. Although multiple letters are designated by the same number, they are distinguished from each other by a short line above or beneath the number, forming a unique set of characters. (It is possible that Poe added these lines, but they appear to be part of Percival’s original MS. For further convenience, words are even separated by commas.) The only variation from Poe’s prescribed rules is that in a few instances more than one symbol corresponds to the same letter. Still, Poe was able to decipher the code with his usual techniques, and the cryptogram would be easily translated with the key. Poe correctly identifies the verse, with the selection exactly following the King James and American Bible Society editions, both quite standard for 1846. (The source Percival used for his text printed ampersands in place of writing out “and” in all but one instance, perhaps creating the impression that he was using a symbol to represent a full word rather than strictly following Poe’s requirement for [page 550:] letter for letter substitution.) Although Percival’s present letter does not touch on the subject of the Stylus, Poe inserted his name into the list of potential subscribers, with the note “see let” (see Such Friends, p. 33).

See PCW for over thirty instances of “cryptograph” in Poe’s works as a coinage, although other forms, such as “cryptography” were ascribed to others as earlier. For more information on Poe’s special interest in cryptography, see LTR-162, and notes, as well as APXA-Thomas.

Source: transcript of the original MS as printed in W [1909], 2:374. The location of the MS is unknown. (In The Letters [1948], Ostrom gives his source as the original MS, claiming it to be at the Valentine Museum, in Richmond. That museum, however, has no record of the MS.) The envelope, separated from the letter since at least 1917 and now at the Huntington Library, is addressed: “Chas. G. Percival Esqr / Utica / N. Y.” and is initialed “E. A. P.” The postmark reads “NEW YORK / JAN 6 / 5 cts.” Poe is replying to Percival’s letter of December 19, 1845 (CL-598), in which Percival sent the cipher for solution. No further correspondence between Poe and Percival is known.

Letter 223 — 1846, January 8 [CL-607] Poe (New York, NY) to Evert A. Duyckinck (New York, NY):

Jan 8. 46

Dear Mr Duyckinck,

For “particular reasons” I am anxious to have another volume of my Tales published before the 1rst of March. Do you not think it possible to accomplish it for me? Would not Mr. Wiley give me, say $50, in full for the copyright of the collection I now send. It is a far better one than the first — containing, for instance, “Ligeia”, which is undoubtedly the best story I have written — besides “Sheherazade”, “The Spectacles”, “Tarr and Fether,” etc.

May I beg of you to give me an early answer, by note, addressed 85 Amity St.

Truly yours

Edgar A Poe

E. A. Duyckinck Esqr [page 551:]

Note: Poe’s “reasons,” besides obvious financial ones, presumably had to do with his renewed interest in launching the Stylus (see LTR-225). Duyckinck had edited the Tales (1845) and omitted some of Poe’s best stories, including “Ligeia” (see LTR-240, where Poe comments unfavorably about Duyckinck’s selection, and LTR-241; also Quinn, p. 466). No second edition appeared.

Source: photocopy of the original MS (1 p.) in the New York Public Library, Manuscript Division. The envelope, not mailed, is addressed: “Evert A. Duyckinck Esqr.” No reply to this letter is known.

Letter 223a — 1846, January 10 [CL-608a] Poe (New York, NY) to Joseph L. Chester (Philadelphia, PA):

New York, Jan. 10, 1846.

My dear Sir:

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

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

Very sincerely yours,

Edgar A. Poe

Joseph L. Chester, Esqr.

Note: Joseph Lemuel Chester (1821-1882) was one of the vast army of minor contributors feeding the various literary publications of the day, often anonymously or under pseudonyms. He moved to London in 1858, where he began a prestigious career as a genealogist. His earliest publication, under his own name, seems to be a collection of poems, Greenwood Cemetery and Other Poems (New York and Boston: Saxon & Miles, 1843). The comment that Poe had spoken “editorially” on behalf of Chester is tantalizing since it indicates more than one such comment even though not a single qualifying notice appears to be known. Given the date of the present letter, the most plausible place for such a review [page 552:] by Poe would be the New-York Mirror, the BJ, or possibly the Philadelphia Saturday Museum, the last being unverifiable since no complete sets from the period appear to have survived. It is also possible that Chester was given a slight mention in a longer notice for a magazine or gift book to which he had contributed, but it is just as likely that Poe is simply being pleasant to someone he felt might be of service to him, particularly in regard to the Stylus. Some evidence of this conjecture is that his name appears in Such Friends with the entry, “Jos. L. Chester — ‘Julian Cramer’ — Wm. Goodrich & Co. 88 Market St. Phil.” (pp. 21-22).

Source: text of the letter as printed in “The Autograph Bulletin,” published monthly by Thomas F. Madigan, January 1924, item 99. In that catalog the letter is described as “POE, Edgar Allan. Celebrated American Author and Poet. A. L. S. 1 full page, 8vo. New York, Jan. 10, 1846. To Joseph L. Chester. $125.00. A beautiful specimen of the rare and desirable autograph of the author of ‘The Raven,’ on Poe’s private monogram stationery.” The location of the MS is unknown. Without being able to examine the original MS, one might question the appearance of a “new” letter from Poe during a period of prevalent forgery. Chester, however, was an obscure literary figure outside of genealogical circles, one surely forgotten by 1924. Unlike N. P. Willis or J. R. Thompson, Chester is not mentioned in any biography of Poe or collection of Poe’s works, and therefore an odd choice for a forger. More importantly, it seems beyond coincidence that Chester is mentioned in Poe’s list of subscribers and contributors to the Stylus, a list which was essentially unknown until 1986.

Letter 223b — 1846, January 10 [CL-608b] Poe (New York, NY) to Robert Leighton, Jr. (Boston, MA):

New-York — Jan 10 — 46

Dear Sir,

It gives me pleasure to comply with your very flattering request for an autograph.


Yr Ob St

Edgar A Poe.

R. Leighton Jr. Esqr [page 553:]

Note: Nothing is known about R. Leighton, Jr, or his connection to Poe, beyond the present letter and his name with a note of “Boston — See let” appearing in Poe’s address list (Such Friends, p. 29).

Source: text of the original MS (1 p.) as printed in the Spring/Summer 1994 issue of Profiles in History, the catalog of autograph dealer Joseph Maddelena of California. The page on which the letter is written measures approximately 4 1/4 inches by 5 1/2 inches, the narrow width forcing the single sentence into three lines.

Letter 224 — 1846, January 10 [CL-609] Poe (New York, NY) to Fitz-Greene Halleck (New York, NY):

My Dear Mr Halleck,

Miss Lynch desires me to say to you that she would be very much pleased to see you to-night. Miss Sedgwick, Cassius M. Clay, and some other notabilities will be present.

Truly yours

Edgar A Poe.

Saturday Jan. 10

Note: For information on Fitz-Greene Halleck, see LTR-67. Miss Catherine Maria Sedgwick (1789-1867) was a writer favorably reviewed by Poe in “The Literati,” Godey’s, September 1846 (reprinted in H [Works], 15:108-113). Cassius Marcellus Clay (1810-1903) was an abolitionist editor from Lexington, KY. Miss Anne Charlotte Lynch (1815-1881) — who resided at 116 Waverly Place, not far from Washington Square (where Poe was living at the time) — was often hostess to literary meetings attended by the New York and visiting Blue Stockings. Poe was a frequent guest at these gatherings (see Quinn, pp. 475-476). Lynch’s detailed and enthusiastic account of the highly successful party on the present occasion is given in her letter of January 20, 1846 to Mrs. Whitman (see The Poe Log, pp. 619-620). In addition to socializing with people who might assist his own literary interests, Poe may have been gathering personal observations of various notables for his forthcoming “Literati of New York City.” See Hiram Fuller’s April 20, 1846 Mirror review of the earliest sketches, as written “with spirit” and [page 554:] as “attempts at minute description” (The Poe Log, pp. 636). Shortly after the present letter, Miss Lynch was involved in the unpleasant situation that arose between Poe and Mrs. Ellet, resulting in the removal of Poe’s name from Miss Lynch’s guest list (see The Poe Log, pp. 622-624). For Miss Lynch’s continued hostilities toward Poe, see LTR-278.

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 MS is pasted to a larger sheet of paper, and the address leaf is apparently lost. The letter must be dated 1846, for January 10 fell on a Saturday only in that year during Poe’s New York period and his visits to Anne Lynch’s soirées. The present letter was written on Poe’s personal letter paper, embossed with his initials “E A P.” In his own copy of The Letters [1948] and his notes, TOM [Iowa] cites LTR-224, LTR-224a, and LTR-234 as possible forgeries, unfortunately without specifying his reasons. Moldenhauer records the purchase of the MSS of LTR-224 and LTR-224a in 1945 and 1947 (Descriptive Catalog, p. 62), both from reputable sources, and close examination by previous and present owners has not raised doubts. There are, however, legitimate reasons to raise some concern. One is a relative lack of history for the letters, the present item having come to light only just before its sale, attached to the flyleaf of a copy of the Museum, volume XL, Philadelphia, 1840. More troubling is the presence of blind embossing of initials for all three, a factor which is suspicious since only five, of all the known letters, use such a device. (The last of the four, LTR-234, is embossed “VEP” — Virginia Eliza Poe.) Why should Poe have accepted the role of social secretary for Miss Lynch, especially to Clay and Lester (in LTR-224a), both well-known abolitionists who would be disfavored by Poe, the self-proclaimed Virginian with no fondness for “rabid ... Abolition fanatics”? (For this reference, see Poe’s review of Lowell’s A Fable for Critics, in the SLM, March 1849, Writings, 5:375-377.) Surely such invitations would not have been extended for the first time on the very day of the party. Poe may simply be providing reminders, perhaps to guests he particularly wanted to see, as much an announcement of his own presence as a request for theirs. Although of the names listed, only Halleck, Lynch, and Sedgwick actually appeared in “The Literati,” LTR-229a verifies his interest also in Lester. More compelling may be Miss Lynch’s letter (noted above) to Mrs. Whitman, verifying the presence of Halleck, Miss Sedgwick, and Clay, who is noted as not attending very often. (Miss Lynch’s letter would not have been widely known as early as the 1940s [page 555:] and is not printed or even referred to by Quinn.) In further vindication of authenticity, one must mention that both letters instead of “notables” use the rare word “notabilities,” one coined by Poe (see PCW) and used by him only in these two letters and once again in the final sentence of the revised version of his “Literati” paper on Charles Briggs (see H [Works], 15:23 and 15: 266).

Letter 224a — 1846, January 10 [CL-610a] Poe (New York, NY) to Charles E. Lester (New York, NY):

Saturday Jan. 10

My Dear Sir,

Miss Lynch desires me to say to you that she would be especially pleased to see you at 116 Waverley [sic] Place, this evening. Miss Sedgwick, Cassius M. Clay, and some other notabilities will be present.

Very truly yours

Edgar A Poe.

C. Edwards Lester Esqr

Note: As a Presbyterian minister, Charles Edwards Lester (1815-1890) was a staunch anti-slavery exponent, and the author of numerous books, including The Glory and Shame of England (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1841) and Artists in America (New York: Baker & Scribner, 1846). Under President James K. Polk, Lester served as Consul at Genoa and later as Secretary of the Treasury (DAB, 11:189-190). For Anne C. Lynch, Miss Sedgwick, and C. M. Clay, see LTR-224 and note.

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 year date is established by an almost identical letter written by Poe to Fitz-Greene Halleck of the same date. Like the letter paper to Halleck, the present item carries the blind embossing “E A P” in the upper left corner of the MS. (See the note to LTR-224 for concerns about both letters as being possible forgeries.) The correspondence appears on page 1 of a folded sheet of note paper; the address appears on page 4, reading: “C. Edwards Lester Esqr / Present,” probably indicating that both letters were delivered by hand. [page 556:]

Letter 224b — 1846, January 12 [CL-610b] Poe (New York, NY) to Philip P. Cooke (The Vineyard, VA):

P. P. Cooke, Esqre

at The Vinyard

near Millwood

Clarke Co


Note: Nothing is known about the letter that surely accompanied the envelope, but it very possibly prompted the three letters from Cooke to Poe before April 16, 1846 (CL-618a), themselves known only through Poe’s letter of April 16, 1846 to Cooke (LTR-227).

Source: A cutting from an envelope or address leaf (fragment, 1p.) in the Humanities Research Center of the University of Texas at Austin. The cutting is addressed in Poe’s autograph, and initialed. The postal cancellation is New York, 12 January, the year-date being illegible.

Letter 224c — 1846, January 10 - April 11 [CL-610d] Poe (New York, NY) to “a Gentleman” (London):

[...] The philosophy detailed in the “Last Conversation of a Somnambule,” is my own — original, I mean, with myself, and had long impressed me. I was anxious to introduce it to the world in a manner that should insure for it attention. I thought that by presenting my speculations in a garb of vraisemblance — giving them as revelations — I would secure for them a hearing, and I depended upon what the Popular Record very properly calls the “Magazinish” tone of the article to correct any false impression which might arise in regard to the question of fact or fable. In the case of Valdemar, I was actuated by similar motives, but in this latter paper, I made a more pronounced effort at verisimilitude for the sake of effect. The only material difference between the two articles is, that in one I believe actual truth to be involved; in the other I have aimed at merely suggestion and speculation. I find the Valdemar case universally copied and received as truth, even in spite of my disclaimer. [...] [page 557:]

Note: Poe’s “Mesmeric Revelation” (Columbian Lady’s and Gentleman’s Magazine, August 1844, 2:67-70) was reprinted in the London Popular Record of Modern Science, no. 35 (November 29, 1845) as “The Last Conversation of a Somnambule” (pp. 126-129). Poe dismissed the new title as “a phrase that is nothing at all to the purpose,” and accused the publishers of “impudence” (see M-200, Writings, 2:331). Poe’s “Facts of M. Valdemar’s Case” (American Review, December 1845, 2:561-565) was reprinted by the Popular Record (no. 41, January 10, 1846, pp. 19-20) as “The Death of M. Valdemar of New York.” Under the heading “Mesmerism in America,” the Popular Record for April 11, 1846 (see source note below) printed an article which contained the above passage from Poe’s letter, explaining that it was part of a response to an unidentified “gentleman” who, at the request of the editor, “wrote direct to Mr. Poe” for a statement as to whether the two tales were fact or fiction. In the article, the pompous editor strongly expressed his outrage over a “garb of vraisemblance” used by an American author to gull the public, apparently considering it ungentlemanly because it was so convincing. The first account (of January 10, 1846, attached to a reprint of “Valdemar”) speaks of the “steamer ... for America” on February 3, and assures the readers of an article on the matter “within a few weeks.” The full resultant article of April 11, 1846 contains Poe’s reply, which amusingly is largely based on the first article’s ideas and even language, including the Record’s word “magazinish.” Poe earlier had greatly enjoyed a parallel instance of outrage, expressed by a local mesmerist, Robert Collyer (CL-596), over his too credible details in “Valdemar.” He presented that episode with apparent amusement in the BJ of December 27, 1845 (Writings, 3:355-356).

Source: the transcript of the excerpt quoted from the original MS (now presumably lost) as printed in the Popular Record of Modern Science, No. 54 (London: April 11, 1846, No. 54, pp. 225-227; reprinted with a useful headnote by Ian Walker in EAP: The Critical Heritage, pp. 148-155). The author of the article seems not only to paraphrase other portions of Poe’s letter but also to quote two additional passages: “... it was republished in many papers as ‘truth stranger than fiction ... ’ ” and “... [it was] fully credited by many wise and shrewd men .... ” Poe confirms the authenticity of his letter by quoting almost all of it in the context of a condensed form of a larger section of the second article of April, which he inserted into “Marginalia” M-200, forming the sole entry in Graham’s of March 1848, 32:178-179 (see Writings, 2:331-334). [page 558:]

Letter 224d — 1846, January 15 [CL-610e] Poe (New York, NY) to — ? (— ?):

Note: This item is more accurately categorized as a promissory note, and has been moved to PN-6.

Letter 225 — 1846, January 16 [CL-611] Poe (New York, NY) to Mrs. Sarah J. Hale (Philadelphia, PA):

New-York — Jan 16 — 46.

My Dear Madam,

I am afraid you have already found me guilty of gross discourtesy in failing to reply to your letter of Nov 14 — but I have postponed writing from day to day, and from week to week, in hope of being able to say something definite in regard to what you ask me concerning Wiley and Putnam — and I have, also, been in expectation of seeing you in New-York. I trust you have not quite abandoned the idea of paying us a visit.

Immediately upon receipt of “Ormond Grosvenor” I gave it a second careful reading — I had already seen it in “The Lady’s Book” — and became confirmed in my first impression of its remarkable vigor and dramaticism. I not only think highly of this individual play, but I deduce from some passages of it — especially towards its dénouement — that, with earnest endeavor in this walk of Literature, you would succeed far better than any American in the composition of that rare work of art, an effective acting play. At the same time I must not forbear saying that a curtailment of some of the mere dialogue of [page 2] “Ormond Grosvenor” would, in my opinion, tend to its improvement.

In our literary circles here your “Alice Ray” is universally appreciated and admired.

For “Harry Guy” I should prefer the subtitle of “A Tale in Verse” to that of “A Tale in Rhyme” — although there is little choice. I think [page 559:] Clark & Austin or Paine & Burgess would be more willing to publish it, and afford you more liberal terms, than Wiley & Putnam — although, in point of caste, the latter are to be preferred, and their issues are sure of some notice in England.

I believe that, as yet, I have not even had the courtesy to thank you for your sweet lines from “The Sabbath and its Rest.” Upon the principle of “better late than never” will you permit me to thank you, very sincerely, now?

Should I visit Philadelphia, at any time, I shall undoubtedly do myself the honor of calling on you.

In the meantime I am With the Highest respect

Your Ob. St.

Edgar A Poe

Mrs S. J. Hale.

[page 3] P.S. — I send the play, with this note, by Harden’s express.

The B. Journal had fulfilled its destiny — which was a matter of no great moment. I have never regarded it as more than a temporary adjunct to other designs. I am now busy making arrangements for the establishment of a Magazine which offers a wide field for literary ambition. Professor Chas. Anthon has agreed to take charge for me of a Department of Criticism on Scholastic Letters. His name will be announced. I shall have, also, a Berlin and a Parisian correspondent — both of eminence. The first No. may not appear until Jan. 1847.

Note: Ormond Grosvenor, a tragedy, was published in 1838 (see Appleton’s Cyclopedia of American Biography, 3:35). Alice Ray, A Romance in Rhyme, was published in Philadelphia, 1845 (a copy is in the Library of Congress), and reviewed by Poe in the BJ, November 1, 1845 (Writings, 3:292-294). See LTR-212 for a previous reference to Mrs. Hale’s poem, and to publishers Clark & Austin. Among other books, the New York firm of Paine & Burgess published The Greece of the Greeks by G. A. Perdicaris in 1845. Harry Guy was published in 1848. At the time of the present letter, Mrs. Hale was the editor of Godey’s. It seems obvious that Poe is lauding the influential, powerful Sarah J. Hale for his own aims, suggested further by his recording her as no. 233 in Such Friends (p. 25). If the “sweet lines from ‘The Sabbath and its Rest’.” were [page 560:] sent to Poe for publication, he did not use them in the BJ, perhaps in part due to that journal’s impending demise. In the BJ, January 3, 1846, Poe wrote: “Unexpected engagements demanding my whole attention, and the objects being fulfilled, so far as regards myself personally, for which ‘The Broadway Journal’ was established, I now, as its Editor, bid farewell — as cordially to foes as to friends” (see Quinn, p. 494). For the facts about the closure of the BJ and this “valedictory,” see Writings, 4:265. Poe’s dream of establishing the Stylus was still but a hope, though his optimism was evidenced in various letters to friends at this time. No letters exist corroborating Poe’s statements about Professor Anthon and the foreign correspondents. Even by January 1848, Anthon remained unnamed, with Poe’s prospectus saying only “The most distinguished of American Scholars has agreed to superintend the department of classical letters.” He is identified again in LTR-263 (near the end of page 1).

The word “dramaticism” is a coinage by Poe, appropriate in its context and reminiscent of his mother’s profession. See also Poe’s would-be coinage of “dramatism” in his Graham’s sketch of R. T. Conrad in (June 1844, 25:241-243; reprinted by Spannuth and TOM in Doings of Gotham, p. 97). The OED gives only an obscure 1834 example. See LTR-108 for another example of Poe’s use of the term “caste,” usually italicized.

Source: photocopy of the original MS (3 pp.) in the Huntington Library. Poe is replying to Mrs. Hale’s letter of November 14, 1845 (CL-584). The paper is embossed with Poe’s initials in the upper left corner.

Letter 226 — 1846, January 30 [CL-612] Poe (New York, NY) to — ? (— ?) [possibly Evert A. Duyckinck] (New York, NY):


Have you any personal acquaintance with Carey [sic] (John Waters)? If so will you be kind enough to note me, in brief, a few memoranda respg his personal appearance, age, residence etc? — the same about W. A. Jones. Is Herbert living in N. Y? — if so, where? Where does Hoffman live? in what street I mean. Do you know where Hoyt & Hunt live? — or Inman — or Mancur — or Gen. Morris — or O’Sullivan — or Paulding — or Prof. Robinson of the Uny or Verplanck — or Tuckerman. Do you know Stephens the traveller so [page 561:] as to describe him? Please describe Schoolcraft & tell me where he lives — and Cheever, if you can. A very few words abt each will suffice.

Have you seen Tupper’s notice of my Tales yet? if so — how is it? long or short — sweet or sour? — if you have it, please lend it me.

I send this note by Mrs C. Should she not see you, can’t you contrive to step in at 85 Amity St — some time to-day or tomorrow?

Truly Yours


Jan 30.

Note: Poe’s present queries suggest preparation for his “Literati” papers, published in Godey’s, May - October 1846. Several of the same names appear in LTR-229, and all are included in the list given in LTR-229a. Verplanck, Hoyt, Hunt, and Cheever were featured in the installments for June; Cary for July; and Hoffman for October. Others may justify some special identification. William Alfred Jones (1817-1900) was a critic of whose analytical abilities Poe spoke favorably in “About Critics and Criticism” (Graham’s, January 1850). John Inman (1805-1850) had contributed to various periodicals, including the Mirror, but was better known as the editor of the Columbian Magazine from 1844-1848 (American Magazines, 1:743-744). Henry William Herbert (1807-1858) wrote much under the pen name “Frank Forester.” In 1833, he founded the American Monthly Magazine, remaining as one of its editors through 1835. (To this magazine Poe contributed his tale “Von Jung, the Mystific” — later re-titled as “Mystification” — but in 1837, over a year after Herbert’s period as editor.) “General” George Pope Morris (1802-1864) was long associated with N. P. Willis as co-editor of the Mirror and the Home Journal. John L. O’Sullivan was the co-founder of the United States Magazine and Democratic Review, serving as an editor until he sold his interest in 1846 (American Magazines, 1:678-681). Professor Edward Robinson (1794-1863) was a prominent scholar of philology and biblical studies. For more information on Henry T. Tuckerman, see LTR-149 and note. John Henry Mancur (1774-1850) was a contributor of several short stories to Graham’s in 1843 and 1844, and author of historical novels, including The Palais Royal. An historical romance (New York: W. H. Colyer, 1845); he is mentioned in the BJ, April 5, 1845 (Writings, 3:71), and in a footnote for “Marginalia” M-129, in [page 562:] Godey’s August 1845 (Writings, 2:230). Poe reviewed John Lloyd Stephens’ Incidents of Travel in Egypt, Arabia Petraea, and the Holy Land (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1837) in the New York Review (October, 1837). Henry Rowe Schoolcraft (1793-1864) was an ethnologist and geologist, best known for his depictions of Indian life. Although he spent much of his time travelling in the western territories, he was fair game for the “Literati” series, having moved to New York in 1841.

Source: original MS fragment (1 p.), formerly in the collection of J. K. Lilly, Jr., and now in the Lilly Library, Indiana University. The top third of the holograph has been cut off, and some ten lines are missing. Since it was apparently delivered by hand, the fragment bears no address or postmark. Though the correspondent’s name is missing, the content of the letter suggests Evert A. Duyckinck as the recipient. Duyckinck was the editor of Poe’s Tales of 1845, published by Wiley & Putnam. Martin F. Tupper’s review of the Tales did not appear in the Literary Gazette (London) until January 31, 1846, but a letter from Tupper to Mr. Wiley late in 1845 asking, “Shall we make Edgar Poe famous by a notice in the Literary Gazette” (see Phillips, 2:1021; MS at the Philadelphia Free Library, Gimbel Collection) would have given Poe’s publisher and editor the information Poe solicits in the present letter. Moreover, Poe often sent letters to Duyckinck by Mrs. Clemm. Finally, Duyckinck would be a reasonable source to furnish Poe with the data about the writers cited in the present letter. Thus, with some reservation, this letter is assigned to the Poe-Duyckinck correspondence. The letter is undated in full; but 1846 is given to it on the basis of the above external evidence relative to the publication of the Tales and the Tupper review and letter to Wiley concerning it. Furthermore, Poe lived at 85 Amity Street from October 1, 1845 (see the note to LTR-215) to sometime early in 1846 (see LTR-227). Virginia Poe’s valentine to her husband is addressed “85 Amity St. New York,” showing they were still living there as of February 14, 1846.

TOM [Iowa] considered the present letter a forgery. In his copy of The Letters [1948] appears a series of notes: first, “Very Doubtful”; then, “I think this is genuine — but? Why should Poe ask the address of General Morris.” Finally, in a separate note, with the date of “May 23 — 1963,” TOM decides “Rejected,” firmly encircled. Ostrom repeats these reservations, stating “Why Poe did not know the addresses of many of the men listed in this letter and why he did not simply refer to the New York City Directory may reasonably be questioned; still, in the absence of other controverting evidence the letter is admitted to the canon as genuine” [page 563:] (The Letters [1948], 2:516-517). The letter’s lack of history raises suspicions, but the contents seem to include sufficiently unusual details to rule out a typical forger. In misspelling the name of Henry Cary, for example, Poe is following Griswold’s Poets and Poetry of America. Poe spells the name correctly in “The Literati” and in both of his later letters noted above. In fact, he comments on Griswold’s error in the first sentence of his “Literati” article. Any of these names might have been picked from standard references on Poe and LTR-229, which was published in 1902. Yet if a forger had copied from that letter, he would most naturally have spelled “Carey” as “Cary.” Also, why include the name of John Henry Mancur? As the prolific author of over twenty novels and romances, and a series of stories in Graham’s in 1843-1844, Mancur was prominent enough in Poe’s day to justify his inclusion in the “Literati.” Although no entry for him appears in the installments printed in Godey’s, his writings are briefly mentioned by Poe twice, as given in the note, above. There was, however, little financial reward for a skillful forger of a Poe letter until prices began to escalate, about 1896 (and most forgeries date from the 1920s and 1930s). By that time, Mancur was essentially forgotten, and Poe biographies listed many names, such as N. P. Willis, which would clearly contribute a more favorable increase in the value of the letter. What appears to be a request for addresses of all of the individuals listed may simply be a hastily phrased request for general information about them.

Letter 227 — 1846, April 16 [CL-621] Poe (New York, NY) to Philip P. Cooke (Millwood, VA):

New-York — April 16 — 42. [1846]

My Dear Sir,

Your three last letters reached me day before yesterday, all at once. I have been living in the country for the last two months (having been quite sick) and all letters addressed to 85 Amity St. were very sillily retained there, until their accumulation induced the people to send them to the P. Office. When you write again address me, at large, N. Y. I fully agree with you (and a little to boot) about Minor. He is the King of Donkey-dom. Your “Power of the Bards” is glorious. I have sent it to Colton, who will be delighted with it — I mean Colton of the [page 564:] “American Review.” Not being yet able to leave my room I sent, also, your “Turkey-Hunter” to Porter, with a note, speaking of you as I have always spoken. I enclose you his reply. I retain the MSS. Tell me what I shall do with them. You ask for information about the usual pay of the Magazines. A definite answer is impossible. They graduate their pay by mere whim — apparent popularity — or their own opinion of merit. Real merit is rather no recommendation. For my last two contributions to “Graham” — 5 pp. of “Marginalia” and 4 pp “Philosophy of Composition” (have you seen this latter?) I received $50 — about 8 per page. I furnish Godey regular papers (one each month) at $5 per page. The $5 Magazines do not pay quite so well and are by no means so prompt. Colton gives me $3 per page and the Dem. Review $2 — but I seldom send anything to the latter. “Arthur’s Magazine” gave me, not long ago, $10 a page for a paper “The Sphynx” — but the pay is no pay for the degradation. What others get from the Magazines I can scarcely say — although I know that Willis and Longfellow have been liberally paid — liberally as times go & as publishers think. When your book comes out, I fancy that it will make a stir in England — and enable you to do well in letters — pecuniarily well. You will yet have Fame & get it easily. Money follows at its heels, as a matter of course. Griswold is quite right about the externals of your book. Never commit yourself as a pamphleteer. — I am now writing for Godey a series of articles called “The N. Y. City Literati”. They will run through the year & include personal descriptions, as well as frank opinions of literary merit. Pending the issue of this series, I am getting ready similar papers to include American littérateurs generally — and, by the beginning of December, I hope to put to press (here and in England) a volume embracing all the articles under the common head “The Living Literati of the U S.” — or something similar. Of course I wish to say something [page 2] of yourself. What shall I quote? “Rosalie Lee” I have not. Would it put you to much trouble to copy it for me? Give me, also, (if you think it right) some account of your literary projects — purposes etc. — The volume is to be prefaced by some general remarks on our Literature and pre-prefaced by the Memoir of myself, by Lowell, which appeared in Graham’s Mag. for February 1845. This Memoir, however, is [page 565:] defective, inasmuch as it says nothing of my latest & I think my best things — “The Raven” (for instance), “The Valdemar Case”, etc. May I ask of you the great favor to add a P.S. to Lowell’s article — bringing up affairs as you well know how. I ask this of you — what I would ask of no other man — because I fancy that you appreciate me — estimate my merits & demerits at a just value. If you are willing to oblige me — speak frankly above all — speak of my faults, too, as forcibly as you can. The length of the P.S. I leave to yourself.

Very cordially yours

Edgar A Poe

P.S. I cannot lay my hand on Porter’s note. The substance of it, however, was — that he had read the article with great pleasure but as the “present publisher of the Spirit of the T” could not pay, he was forced reluctantly to return the M.S.

Note: Poe seemingly left 85 Amity Street after February of 1846 (see note to LTR-226) and moved to Turtle Bay, now the foot of 47th Street, then to Fordham (see Quinn, p. 506). Minor was probably Lucian Minor since B. B. Minor was not yet associated with the SLM. William Trotter Porter (1809-1858) was the founder, editor, and publisher of the Spirit of the Times (New York), an “all-round sporting journal” (American Magazines, 1:480 and 801). See also Pollin’s note “An 1839 Review of Poe’s Tales in Willis’ The Corsair” (PS, 5:56). The Corsair was edited by Porter’s brother, Dr. Timothy O. Porter, and N. P. Willis. Poe’s recital of payment for contributions should be compared with references in LTR-164a and elsewhere in the general correspondence; his figures here seem rather exaggerated. For the “Literati” articles, see notes to LTR-229a and LTR-241. For Cooke’s “Memoir” of Poe, herein asked for, see the note to LTR-240. For Lowell’s article, see LTR-181 and note. As might be expected, Poe’s cultivation of Cooke’s friendship and respect for a fellow Virginian, as Poe considered himself to be, assured the appearance of his name in Such Friends, as no. 85 (p. 22).

The word “pre-prefaced” is a Poe creation, not in the OED or PCW. Poe apparently coined the derogatory term “Donkey-dom,” with only late nineteenth century instances cited in the OED, although it sounds surprisingly like Willis’ language style. [page 566:]

Source: photocopy of the original MS (2 pp.), formerly in the collection of H. Bradley Martin, but currently unlocated. The poem “Power of the Bards,” which appeared in Colton’s American Review (June 1846, 3:587-588), signed “P. P. Cooke, Virginia,” identifies the correspondent. Moreover, Cooke’s reply, August 4, 1846 (CL-653), is clearly an answer to the present letter. Poe’s reference to his having left 85 Amity Street [early in 1846] coupled with the date of Cooke’s reply, cited above, proves Poe’s own misdating of the present letter by four years. The correct year date is 1846. Cooke’s “three last letters” may be dated before April 16, 1846 (CL-619). Porter’s note to Poe (CL-620) is unlocated, as is any further correspondence between these two men.

Letter 228 — 1846, April 16 [CL-622] Poe (New York, NY) to George W. Eveleth (Phillips, ME):

New-York — April 16. 46.

My Dear Sir,

You seem to take matters very easily and I really wonder at your patience under the circumstances. But the truth >>is<< I am in no degree to blame[.] Your letters, one and all, reached me in due course of mail — and I attended to them, as far as I could.

The business, in fact, was none of mine but of the person to whom I transferred the Journal and in whose hands it perished.

Of course, I feel no less in honor bound to refund you your money, and now do so, with many thanks for your promptness & courtesy.

Very cordially yours

Edgar A Poe

G. W. Evelett [sic] Esqr

Note: George Washington Eveleth was a young medical student in Maine when he first contacted Poe. The letter to which Poe is here responding berated him for failing to answer three letters, and requested the return of his three-dollar subscription to the BJ. However, he also intimated his true admiration for the writings and great respect for Poe’s genius, as did most of his thirteen letters (see APXA-Eveleth). Poe’s reply clearly shows his sense of Eveleth as a supporter, and perhaps even a kind [page 567:] of disciple. Poe patiently endured his incessant questions and even encouraged this curious correspondent to write more often (see LTR-241 and LTR-320). His name duly appears in Such Friends, no. 90 (p. 24). For his part, Eveleth remained true to Poe’s memory long after the poet’s death in 1849, communicating with Mrs. Clemm to gather information for a planned but never published defense of Poe, and eventually corresponding with Sarah H. Whitman and John H. Ingram. Poe’s statement about the fate of the BJ is unfair since it had long been suffering under financial problems, both before and during his tenure. Poe sold a one-half interest in the magazine to Thomas H. Lane, December 3, 1845, Poe retaining editorial charge (see Quinn, p. 492). Poe’s statement about having “transferred the Journal”may be essentially accurate in terms of the business side of the BJ; but his editorial control is still evident in the four issues for December, which contain considerable material from Poe (see Writings, 3:325-358, and notes in 4:346-365). His valedictory appeared in the issue dated January 3, 1846 (see the note to LTR-225).

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 leaf is lost. Poe is answering Eveleth’s letters of December 21, 1845 (CL-599), January 5 (CL-606), and April 3, 1846 (CL-617).

Letter 228a — 1846, April 18 [CL-622b] Poe (New York, NY) to James E. Root (Troy, NY):

New-York: April 18. 46.

Dear Sir,

A complete copy of the B. J. can be obtained of Mr. Cornelius Mathews, 140 Nassau St. N.Y. up stairs — or, if you prefer it, enclose me the subscription price ($3.) and I will leave a copy for you at any place you shall designate in this city.

Respy. Yr. Ob St.

Edgar A Poe

Jas E. Root Esqr

P. S. I have none in my possession or would willingly spare you a copy, gratis. [page 568:]

Note: James E. Root is unidentified (but see LTR-322, to H. S. Root). The BJ was the only magazine that Poe ever actually owned, and over which he essentially exercised complete editorial control. In spite of his considerable efforts, however, he could not raise sufficient funds to reverse its financial decline, and it ceased publication with the issue for January 3, 1846 (see Quinn, p. 752, and LTR-225 and note). It was defunct less than three months after he took possession as editor and publisher. The “complete copy of the B. J.” consisted of only two volumes (January 4, 1845-January 3, 1846). Why Mathews should have back copies of the defunct journal is not certain. Mathews, who edited the Yankee Doodle in 1846-1847, may have had his own offices “up stairs” over 140 Nassau Street and agreed to store some of the surplus copies of the BJ.

Source: photocopy of the original MS (1 p.) in the Houghton Library, Harvard University. No envelope or address accompanies the MS. The present letter strongly implies a letter from Root, before April 18, 1846 (CL-622a), probably the same one noted from “Jas. E. Root of Troy, N. Y.,” listed in Such Friends for no. 122 (p. 35).

Letter 228b — 1846, April 28 [CL-626] Poe (New York, NY) to George F. Barstow and Fayette Jewett (Burlington, VT):


April 28. 1846.


Will you be so kind as express to the Societies of the University of Vermont, my profound sense of the honor they have done me, and at the same time my deep regret that a multiplicity of engagements, with serious and, I fear, permanent ill health, will not permit me to avail myself of their flattering invitation?

Most respectfully, Gentlemen,

Yr. Ob. St.

Edgar A Poe.

To George F. Barstow Esqr


Fayette Jewett Esqr. [page 569:]

Note: Over the years, Poe received several invitations from college societies (see LTR-229, LTR-234, and LTR-253). Barstow (secretary of Phi Sigma Nu) and Jewett (secretary of the University Institute), extended the invitation to Poe to serve as the commencement poet, but only after both Joel Headley and Henry Jarvis Raymond declined. The letter to Poe was written following the April 15, 1846 meeting of the fraternity (see MS Journal, Phi Sigma Nu Society of the University of Vermont, in the Wilbur Library, University of Vermont). In a review in the BJ, Poe strongly showed his disapproval of Headley’s writings, but also acknowledged that “the peculiar property of this book of Mr. Headley’s is, that it is written to be read .... Find whatever fault we may with him; doubt his facts, denounce his grammar, grow angry over his prejudices, we cannot fail to read whatever he writes, and rising superior to our necessities as reviewers, read on to the end” (August 9, 1845, 2:75; reprinted in Writings, 3:206-207). He also knew of Raymond’s association with Greeley and Griswold (see The Poe Log, and the DAB for “Raymond”). Poe would surely have resented being third in line to these earlier invitations, which may have been as much a factor in his decision as the ones he cites in the present letter.

Source: photocopy of the original MS (1 p.) in the Free Library of Philadelphia, Gimbel Collection. There is no address or postmark. Poe is answering a letter from Barstow and Jewett, before April 28, 1846, unlocated (see CL-625).

Letter 229 — 1846, April 28 [CL-628] Poe (New York, NY) to Evert A. Duyckinck (New York, NY):

April 28.

Dear Duyckinck,

Mrs C. tells me that you had some conversation with her about Keese and myself — and I have thought it best to enclose you my letter to him. May I ask of you the favor to look it over and then seal it and send it to him? — unless you have anything to suggest — in which case please do not send it until you can communicate with me.

I enclose, also, a letter from the Lit. Societies of the Vermont University. My object is to ask you to get inserted, editorially, in the [page 570:] “Morning News”, or some other paper, a paragraph to this effect: — or something similar.

EDGAR A. POE. — By a concurrent vote of the Literary Societies of the University of Vermont. Mr Poe has been elected Poet for their ensuing Anniversary in August next — but we are sorry to hear that continued ill health, with a pressure of engagements, will force him to decline the office.

Please preserve the letter of the Societies.

It strikes me that, some time ago, Wiley & Putnam advertised for autographs of distinguished Amer. statesmen. Is it so? I have well-preserved letters from John Randolph, Chief Justice Marshall, Madison, Adams, Wirt, Duane, E. Everett, Clay, Cass, Calhoun and some others — and I would exchange them for books.

Truly Yours

E A Poe (over[)]

[page 2] Can either you or Mathews furnish me with autographs of any of the following persons? Cheever — Cary — Cranch — Francis — Mrs Stephens — Clark — Verplanck — Aldrich — Maroncelli — Wetmore — Fay — Greeley — Godwin — J. Willis — Maturin — Deming — Mrs Smith — Raymond — Headley — Brownlee — Kent — Ward — Tellkampf — S. Smith — Mrs Child — G. Spring — Jno. Stephens — Cooley — Mancur — King — T. Irving — Inman — Jones — Tuckerman — Mrs Godwin — Gallatin — Harring — J. Sargent — Prof. Robinso[n] — Channing — Lewis — Schoolcraft — Dewey — Brisbane — Tasistro.

Note: What Duyckinck told Mrs. Clemm probably inspired Poe’s letter to John Keese, which, if sent, would have borne the date of April 28, 1846 (CL-627). See LTR-228b to Barstow and Jewett, of the University of Vermont, declining the honorific post of “Commencement Poet.” The notice Poe requested appears in the Daily Tribune (New York), May 1, 1845 (see The Poe Log, p. 634). A similar comment appeared in the Baltimore Saturday Visiter, April 18, 1846 (see The Poe Log, p. 635). Poe possessed the autographs of some, if not all, of the statesmen named: those of John Marshall, John Quincy Adams, William Wirt, Edward Everett, and Lewis Cass appeared in his “Autography.” For William [page 571:] Duane, Poe probably means the father rather than the son with whom he had corresponded in 1844 (see LTR-184). Poe’s request for autographs was in connection with his preparation of the “Literati” papers, which appeared in Godey’s, May-October 1846; the first ten names listed in the letter and Mrs. Child were discussed in the series. The names of Godwin, Maturin, Mrs. Godwin, and a few others might seem exceptions to this inference, but all are either native or immigrant Americans. “Maturin” designates Edward, ex-Hibernian, teaching Greek in a College of South Carolina and son of the Gothic novelist Charles R. Maturin (best known for Melmoth the Wanderer), who had figured in Poe’s “Letter to B——” (see H [Works], 7:xxxviii; also H [Works], 11:13). For Poe’s note from the BJ on the son’s novel Montezuma, see Writings, 3:352 and 4:260. The two Godwins are not William (the English philosopher and novelist whom Poe admired) nor Mary Jane (William Godwin’s second wife), but rather Mr. and Mrs. Parke Godwin. This Godwin was a newspaper editor who married the daughter of William Cullen Bryant (see Poe’s reference in his review of Bryant’s poems in Godey’s of April 1846; H [Works], 13:140-141, and The Poe Log, p. 608). Several names suggested by Ostrom in his 1974 supplement should be corrected. Jones was not John Beauchamp Jones, but William Alfred Jones, as verified by LTR-229a and LTR-226; and Raymond is Henry Jarvis Raymond (1820-1869), not Daniel Raymond. A few remaining names not readily identified are worth specific notice. John Willis was the author of Carleton, a Tale of Seventeen Hundred and Seventy Six (Philadelphia: Lea & Blanchard, 1841). Rev. William Craig Brownlee (1784-1860) and John Turner Sargent (1808-1877) were well-known religious writers. Henry Champion Deming (1815-1872) was an editor of the New-York Saturday Emporium. Albert Brisbane (1809-1890), author of The Social Destiny of Man (1840), was the leading advocate of the ideas of Charles Fourier (1772-1837). An associate of Horace Greeley, Brisbane published columns in the New York Tribune in 1842. Although Poe sent autographs to Godey in LTR-229a, and several were printed at the end of the reprint of the first installment, they were not printed in the body of the articles. Godey may have objected to the expense for printing a facsimile signature with each person described in the article. Whether Duyckinck or Cornelius Mathews supplied any of the requested autographs is unknown.

Source: photocopy of the original MS (2 pp.) in the New York Public Library, Manuscript Division. The year date seems established by “1846” noted on both the envelope and the mounting of the letter, and by Poe’s [page 572:] request for autographs of a number of persons who later in the year appeared in his “Literati.” The envelope, addressed: “Evert A. Duyckinck Esqr / Present,” was not mailed but delivered by messenger, probably Mrs. Clemm.

Letter 229a — 1846, April 28 [CL-628a] Poe (New York, NY) to Louis A. Godey (Philadelphia, PA):

New-York April 28 46

My Dear Sir,

Enclosed I send you 47 autographs — all I have on hand; but I believe that I shall be able to supply nearly all the rest. Here follows a list of the whole series of authors to come in.

✓ Bush   ✓ Kirkland   ✓ E. Sargent
✓ Colton   ✓ English   ✓ Anthon
    Cheever       Mrs Stephens       Verplanck
    Cary       Francis       Aldrich
✓ Lawson   ✓ Osborn   ✓ Mrs Embury
✓ Willis       Clark       Maroncelli
✓ Gillespie   ✓ Miss Fuller   ✓ Hoyt
✓ Duyckinck   ✓ Mrs Mowatt   ✓ Halleck
    Cranch   ✓ Hunt       Wetmore
✓ Briggs   ✓ Mrs Gove (Mary Orme)      


✓ Mrs Osgood       Seba Smith   ✓ Slidell
✓ Miss Lynch       Mrs Child       Mrs Godwin
    Fay       Gardner [sic] Spring   ✓ Miss Sedgwick
✓ Herbert   ✓ Irving       Gallatin
    Greeley   ✓ Mathews   ✓ Bryant
    Godwin       Jno. Stephens   ✓ Otis
    J. Willis   ✓ Wallace       Harring
✓ Reynolds       Cooley   ✓ Johnston
    Maturin       Mancur   ✓ Locke
✓ O’Sullivan       King   ✓ Webber [page 573:]
    Deming   ✓ Keese       J. Sargent
✓ Mrs Hewitt       T. Irving       Prof. Robinson
    Mrs Smith   ✓ Mrs Kirkland   ✓ Miss Bogart
    Raymond       Inman       W. H. Channing
    Headley   ✓ Paulding   ✓ Hoffman
    Brownlee   ✓ Lester       Lewis
✓ Morris       W. A. Jones       Schoolcraft
    Kent       Tuckerman       Dewey
    Ward   ✓ Noah       Brisbane
    Tellkampf   ✓ Gouraud   ✓ Henry
✓ Foster       Earle   ✓ Dawes

Of these, all above the first line are already sent — the notices, I mean. Of those marked thus, ✓, I now send autographs. You will see that I send an autograph of all included in the May No. with the exception of Dr Francis: — and him I will supply to-morrow. For the article intended for the June No. there are 3 signatures wanting — viz: Maroncelli, Verplanck, and Cheever; and unless you have these, or can get them at once, perhaps it will be better to leave out these names for the present. Suppose you put in the June No. Mrs Mowatt, Halleck, Epes Sargent, Anthon, and Miss Fuller, in the order I write them: — I send the signatures of all of these. After that, no special order need be observed — put them in as you get the autographs. [sic] done.

N.B. I sent you James Lawson with an L. between the names. It should be simply James Lawson.

It is possible that some on the list I shall be forced to omit, for want of room.

Thank you for the prompt payment of the 4 drafts.

Very cordially yours

Edgar A Poe.

Note: In connection with the present letter, see LTR-229 of the same date, where all names not checked here are included, except the name of Pliny Earle. Poe’s “Literati” appeared in Godey’s, May-October, 1846, [page 574:] and included all names above the line up through the issue for August 1846 (see H [Works], 15:1-93), except for Lewis Gaylord Clark (who was held until September); the remaining two installments printed entries for eight names selected from the portion of the list below the line: Mrs. Osgood, Miss Lynch, Mrs. Child, Miss Sedgwick, R. A. Locke, Mrs. Hewitt, Miss Bogart, and Charles F. Hoffman. The present letter makes clear Poe’s intention of reproducing the signatures of the individuals covered in the series, along the lines of his “Autography” articles. Though Poe in his correspondence makes much of securing autographs of these people, no autographs appeared in the “Literati” series — except as a kind of filler at the end of the reprint of the first installment (June 1846, 32:296), listing the signatures of R. Hoyt, John W. Francis, Geo. H. Colton, Wm. M. Gillespie, N. P. Willis, Geo. Bush, and Anna Cora Mowatt. Poe’s promise to send Dr. Francis’ autograph “to-morrow” implies a lost letter from Poe to Godey (CL-629a). Instead of following Poe’s choice of names and their order for the June number, Godey included Maroncelli, Verplanck, and Cheever, and only Mowatt and Anthon from the others suggested. Halleck appeared in the July number, and Sargent and Miss Fuller in the August number. Poe tentatively planned to include ninety-three names in his series; he actually used only thirty-eight before controversy persuaded Godey to stop their publication. (See Poe’s comments in the MS of “The Living Writers of America” that Godey was “badgered into giving up” and “true reason — scared ... ,” printed by Pollin in SAR 1991, pp. 151-211, especially p. 163.)

Source: color photograph of the original MS (1 p.) in the Free Library of Philadelphia, Gimbel Collection. There is no accompanying address or postmark. In the MS, Poe divided the list into two parts, with a line drawn across the full page. Names were organized in seven columns above the line, and in six columns below it. In the present printing, the list has been reformatted into three columns, but the original order has been maintained, following each of Poe’s columns, top to bottom, left to right. Full names of those listed are given in the subject index. At the foot of the page a notation, presumably by Godey, reads: “Ans [Apl (crossed out)] May 1 / 46” (CL-630a). Though Godey’s name does not occur in the letter, the context points clearly to the publisher of Godey’s Lady’s Book. The present letter is the first that Poe is known to have written to Godey, though earlier correspondence may have existed in 1844 when Poe began writing for Godey’s. If Godey wrote a letter relative to the “4 drafts” mentioned by Poe, it is unlocated. [page 575:]

Letter 230 — 1846, April 28 [CL-629] Poe (New York, NY) to Jerome A. Maubey [or Marbray] (— ?):

New-York April 28. 46.

Dear Sir,

You have, evidently, supposed me editor of “Godey’s Magazine” and sent me the poem (a very beautiful one) under that supposition. It has been returned to me from Phild[.] I am not connected, at present, with any journal in which I could avail myself of your talents —

Truly your

E A Poe

Note: The poem referred to in the present letter is “The Toilette.” The name of its author, and Poe’s correspondent, has generally been read as Jerome Maubey. TOM [Iowa], however, writes: “He was Dr. Marbray of Newburg and Cornwall, N. Y. (A. T. Clearwater in Times Saturday Review, Dec. 30 [,] 1922, 44 .... ‘MARBRAY’” (at the end of TOM’s notes, but left incomplete). Repeated but unsuccessful searches have been made into historical records and lists of physicians in New York State and national medical archives for a Dr. Marbray. Equally frustrating have been attempts to find the writer named “Clearwater” indicated in TOM’s note. Godey’s for the rest of the year of 1846 shows no trace of the poem, but the October 1846 “Editor’s Table,” concerning accepted or rejected contributions, says only: “The following are leaves scattered and blown away ... ‘The Toilette’ ” (33:190, column 2).

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. Accompanying this letter at a sale in 1921 was a copy of the poem, “The Toilette,” to which Poe refers, and certain other “correspondence relating to it.” Unfortunately, this additional material is unlocated, apparently lost prior to Koester’s acquisition. The letter itself is trimmed along the bottom, and pasted on a sheet of cardboard. The Madigan Autograph Bulletin, for April 1922, p. 36, gives this letter with no name of addressee, transcribed as item 139, merely indicating it as “framed with fine proof portrait of Poe.” Poe is replying to Maubey’s letter, datable only as before April 28, 1846 (CL-624). The bracketed period is inserted editorially. [page 576:]

Letter 231 — 1846, May 25 [CL-632] Poe (New York, NY) to T. Honland (Cambridge, MA):

New York, May 25, 1846.

Dr Sir, — It gives me great pleasure to comply with your very flattering request for an autograph.


Yr Mo Ob St

Edgar A. Poe

Note: The identity of T. Honland is unknown. Poe’s Such Friends locates Honland in “Cambridge, Mass.” (no. 155, p. 15). Poe’s surviving correspondence includes a number of examples evidently requested as autographs, including LTR-223b, LTR-265a, and others. The earliest such requests appear to be LTR-89 and LTR-103, with interest in obtaining Poe’s signature increasing after publication of “The Raven.”

Source: text of the letter as printed in Adrian H. Joline, Meditations of an Autograph Collector, p. 159. The original MS is unlocated, but was offered for sale in the Anderson Galleries catalog, December 15, 1914, item 832, which supplies the name of Poe’s correspondent. The Anderson catalog quotes the body of the letter, identical with the note printed in Joline, but suggests that Poe signed his full name. Joline actually quotes the signature, merely giving Poe’s first and last names with the middle initial, which would be more usual. Presuming that Joline would not have overlooked such a feature, and that the Anderson catalog is merely stating Poe’s name as it now appears in most literary references, Joline has been followed. Honland’s request for the autograph, probably a letter, may be dated before May 25, 1846 (CL-631).

Letter 231a — 1846, June 6 [CL-633a] Poe (New York, NY) to Thomas P. Kettell (New York, NY):

Dr Sir,

Will you be so kind as to substitute the “Marginalia” now sent for the portion of that which you have, referring to R. A. Locke? — and [page 577:] please give the latter to the bearer (Mrs C.) or, in the event of her not seeing you, leave the M.S. at the office so that she may get it hereafter.

Truly yours

Edgar A. Poe

Mr Kettell

June 6

Note: Thomas Prentice Kettell was an editor of the Democratic Review, 1846-1851, and later of Hunt’s Merchant’s Magazine, 1858-1861 (see American Magazines, 1:678 and 696). He is best remembered today for his History of the Great Rebellion (Worcester, MA: L. Stebbins, 1862; Cincinnati: C. Tuttle, 1863; Cincinnati: F. A. Howe, 1865), begun during the war and revised annually from official documents. Poe may have requested the return of the item on Richard Adams Locke because he was planning to use it as part of his recently initiated “Literati of New York City.” (Locke’s entry appeared as the final entry in the last installment, for October 1846, see Godey’s, 33:159-160; reprinted in H [Works], 15:126-137.) The last of Poe’s “Marginalia” to be published in the Democratic Review was in the July 1846 issue, and the substituted item may be the long comment on Christopher Pease Cranch which appears at the end. (Curiously, Cranch was also included in the “Literati,” and several months earlier than Locke, see Godey’s, July 1846, 33:18-19.) “Mrs C.” was Mrs. Clemm, who often served Poe by running such errands (see LTR-226, LTR-236, LTR-253a, LTR-269, and others).

Source: photocopy of the original MS (1 p.) at the Poe Foundation. The address side bears only the name of “Mr Kettell” and the note “Present.” Since the MS was delivered by hand, it carries no postmark. The year “1846” is written at the bottom of the letter in an unknown hand, but the date is confirmed by Kettell’s role as editor of the Democratic Review and the final two installments of “Marginalia” which appeared in that magazine (April and July 1846, with two previous installments in the same magazine in 1844).

Letter 232 — 1846, June 12 [CL-635] Poe (New York, NY) to Mrs. Virginia Poe (New York, NY):

June. 12th — 1846

[page 578:]

My Dear Heart. My dear Virginia! our mother will explain to you why I stay away from you this night. I trust the interview I am promised will result in some substantial good for me, for your dear sake, and hers — keep up your heart in all hopefulness, and trust yet a little longer — In my last great disappointment, I should have lost my courage but for you — my little darling wife. You are my greatest and only stimulus now, to battle with this uncongenial, unsatisfactory, and ungrateful life — I shall be with you tomorrow P.M. and be assured until I see you, I will keep in loving remembrance your last words and your fervent prayer!

Sleep well, and may God grant you a peaceful summer, with your devoted


Note: This is the only letter Poe is known to have written to his wife (but see LTR-48, and LTR-141). Mrs. Houghton, however, wrote Ingram, January 23, 1875 (original in Ingram Collection, item 197), that Poe wrote numerous “notes” to Virginia. (Mrs. Houghton’s letter to Ingram is reprinted in Miller, BPB, pp. 91-99.) She stated that she did not have them, but knew they were written. She also remembered that Poe usually addressed Virginia as “My Dear Heart” in these notes. The circumstances surrounding the “interview” mentioned by Poe are unknown, but may be related to preparations for his legal battle with English and the Mirror.

Source: transcript of the original MS sent by Mrs. Marie Louise Houghton (formerly Shew) to Ingram, now in the Ingram Collection, University of Virginia. Mrs. Houghton’s transcript contains a number of minor errors in spelling and pointing which are surely her own. These errors seem unnecessary to preserve and have been silently corrected. The original letter, probably 1 p., is apparently lost. Mrs. Houghton’s letter to Ingram, May 2 [1875] (in the Ingram Collection, University of Virginia), says: “I sent the original thinking you would like to have it as he wrote it,” further stating, “The note to Mrs. Poe was written on a leaf from his account book and sent by her mothers [sic] hand.” (Her letter is reprinted in Miller, BPB, p. 135.) Ingram, however, noted on the letter: “It never came. Only the copy.” Mrs. Houghton’s letter also comments that “Dora kept a copy of it,” but the most reasonable conclusion would be that Dora sent the copy and kept the original. In the unpublished MS revision of his Life of Poe (Ingram Collection), he copies the letter to Virginia, [page 579:] describing his text as taken from the “M.S.” (p. 571). This reference might suggest that the original finally arrived, but seems more likely to be an acknowledgment that it is from a transcript taken from the MS rather than another published source. H [Works], 17:232, prints the letter as if it were from the Griswold Collection, although this is almost certainly an error (or a convenient means of avoiding the attention of the litigious Ingram). Clearly, the MS is not the letter Ingram sold to the British Museum in 1913 (see the note to LTR-272). Ingram’s various printings of the letter give varying changes, but all seem to be editorial.

Letter 233 — 1846, June 15 [CL-636] Poe (New York, NY) to Joseph M. Field (St. Louis, MO):


New-York : June 15. 46.

Dear Field,

I have frequently seen in “The Reveillé” notices of myself, evincing a kindly feeling on your part which, believe me, I reciprocate in the most cordial manner. This conviction of your friendship induces me now to beg a favor of you. I enclose an article from “The New-York Mirror” of May 26 th. headed “Mr Poe and the N. Y. Literati”. The attack is editorial & the editor is Hiram Fuller. He was a schoolmaster, about 3 years ago, in Providence, and was forced to leave that city on account of several swindling transactions in which he was found out. As soon as Willis & Morris discovered the facts, they abandoned “The Mirror”, preferring to leave it in his hands rather than keep up so disreputable a connexion. This Fuller ran off with the daughter of a respectable gentleman in this city & was married. The father met the couple in the Park theatre (the Park, I think) and was so carried away by indignation at the disgrace inflicted upon his family by the marriage, that he actually struck Mrs Fuller repeated blows in the face with his clenched fist — the husband looking calmly on, and not even attempting to interfere. I pledge you the honor of a gentleman that I have not exaggerated these facts in the slightest degree. They are here notorious. [page 580:]

All that I venture to ask of you in the case of this attack, however, is to say a few words in condemnation of it, and to do away with the false impression of my personal appearance* it may convey, in those parts of the country where I am not individually known. You have seen me and can describe me as I am. Will you do me this act of justice, and influence one or two of your editorial friends to do the same? I know you will.

[*] I am 33 years of age — height 5 ft. 8. (over)

[page 2] I think the “N. O. Picayune”, which has always been friendly to me, will act in concert with you.

There is, also, an incidental service of great importance, just now, which you have it in your power to render me. That is, to put the following, editorially, in your paper:

<The British literary journals are admitting Mr Poe’s merits, in the most unequivocal manner>. A long and highly laudatory review of his Tales, written by Martin Farquhar Tupper, author of “Proverbial Philosophy”, “The Crock of Gold” etc., appeared in a late number of “The London Literary Gazette”. “The Athenæum,” “The British Critic,[“] “The Spectator”, “The Popular Record” “Churton’s Literary Register”, and various other journals, scientific as well as literary, have united in approbation of Tales & Poems. “The Raven” is copied in full in the “British Critic” and “The Athenæum”. “The Times” — the matter of fact “Times!” — copies the’ “Valdemar Case”. The world’s greatest poetess, Elizabeth Barrett Barrett, says of Mr Poe: — “This vivid writing! — this power which is felt! ‘The Raven’ has produced a sensation — a ‘fit horror’ — here in England. Some of my friends are taken by the yias [sic] of it and some by the music — but all are taken. I hear of persons absolutely haunted by the ‘Nevermore’, and one acquaintance of mine who has the misfortune of possessing a ‘bust of Pallas’ never can bear to look at it in the twilight. Our great poet, Mr Browning, the author of ‘Paracelsus’, ‘The Pomegranates’ etc. is enthusiastic in his admiration of the rhythm.”

After all this, Mr Poe may possibly make up his mind to endure the disapprobation of <one Hiram Fuller> the editor of the Mirror. <and other>. [page 581:]

Miss Barrett continues: — “Then there is a tale of his which I do not find in this volume, but which is going the rounds of the newspapers, about Mesmerism (The Valdemar [page 3] case) throwing us all into ‘most admired disorder’, or dreadful doubts as to ‘whether it can be true’.... The certain thing in the tale in question is the power of the writer and the faculty he has of making horrible improbabilities seem near & familiar.”

If you can oblige me in this case, you may depend on my most earnest reciprocation when where & how you please.

Cordially yours

Edgar A Poe.

P.S. Please cut out anything you may say and en[close i]t to me in a letter. A newspaper wil[l] not be [li]kely to reach me.

I have been very seriously ill for some months * and, being thus utterly unable to defend myself, must rely upon the chivalry of my friends. Fuller knows of my illness & <reli> depends upon it for his security. I have never said a word about the vagabond in my life. Some person, I presume, has hired him to abuse me.

* — am now scarcely able to write even this letter —

Note: Joseph M. Field (1810-1856) was the founder of the St. Louis Daily Reveillé, and served as one of its editors. For Field’s virtual transcription of the present letter as his own editorial in the Saint Louis Reveillé of June 30, 1846, collated in parallel columns, see Moss, Poe’s Major Crisis, pp. 20-25. See also Moss, “Poe and the Saint Louis Daily Reveillé,” PS, 1:18-21, which gives interesting headnote material, such as the dates of six “notices” on Poe of 1845 and 1846 in Fields’ paper. Probably in February 1846, Wiley & Putnam re-issued Poe’s Raven and Other Poems (first published in November 1845) and his Tales (first published in June 1845) as a compound book, using sheets from the earlier printings. Poe sent one of these as a dedication copy to Elizabeth Barrett Barrett; she received it on March 20, 1846 (see TOM [RAOP], pp. xvi-xviii). Poe’s Tales did not include “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar,” which was first published later that year in the American Review (December 1845, 2:561-565; see Wyllie, Poe’s Tales, p. 326, [page 582:] and TOM [T&S], 3:1232). Poe quotes to Field selections from Miss Barrett’s letter, dated April 1846 (CL-630), but takes certain liberties with her original passage, though he does not materially change her meaning. While there is no other reference to Browning in Poe’s works, Elizabeth and her husband-to-be (married September 1846) sometimes discussed Poe’s oddities: the mixture of praise and censure in Poe’s review of her Drama of Exile and his dedication of the “Raven” volume to her. The Poe Log faithfully follows their epistolary animadversions (pp. 596, 617, 619, 620, 629, 630, 639, and 644). Regarding Poe’s statement, “... seriously ill for some months,” one should note his remark to Eveleth, December 15, 1846: “For more than six months, I have been ill — for the greater part of that time, dangerously so, and quite unable to write even an ordinary letter.” Neither statement, of course, should be taken literally. To be noticed, also, is Poe’s reiteration of his age as four years younger than it was, and, therefore, his adherence to his birth date as 1813, as given to Griswold in LTR-317. Poe’s enlistment papers for West Point verify his height as 5 ft. 8 inches (see reproduction in Deas, Portraits and Daguerreotypes of EAP, p.4, excerpted in The Poe Log, p. 80).

The strange word “yias” in the original of this letter is an egregious transcription error by Poe. He should have written “fear,” for that is the word used by Elizabeth Barrett, whom he is paraphrasing, and he correctly gives that word in his letter to P. P. Cooke of August 9, 1846 (LTR-240), having by then realized his mistake. A study of her MS letter reveals Elizabeth Barrett’s spidery, vertical handwriting, combined with Poe’s faulty understanding of foreign languages, as the cause. Her word “fear” starts with an upturned semi-circular stroke of the pen followed by slanted upper and lower thin loops for the “f”, both of which have run together, producing an apparently firm “y”; the “e” has similarly been made by a thin small loop, the sides of which have run together, to resemble an “i” without a superior dot (many of these fly off wildly or entirely disappear from their base elsewhere in her letter). The “a” is recognizable and correctly transcribed, but the double legs of the cursive “r” approach so closely at the bottom as to resemble an “s,” as Poe has read it. Apparently he remembered that a capital letter “u” in Greek is made with our capital “Y”; moreover, his somewhat precious misreading of the Greek word “Elysium” (Elusion) as “Helusion” made him overlook the ordinary lower case Greek “u” so that he probably regarded her assumed “yias” to be a Greek word. For his three instances see PCW part 3, “Proper Noun Coinages,” and also Palmer Holt, “Poe and H. N. [page 583:] Coleridge’s Greek Classic Poets,” American Literature, 34:23-25. A brief study by Pollin of “Poe’s Greek” treats this matter in EAP Review, 2:70-77. (See also the source note to LTR-186.) Poe was the challenging editor of Graham’s to all the senders of coded messages to him in 1841 and should not have carelessly assumed an unknown (and unknowable) “Greek” word from the renowned scholarly poetess. The phrase “most admired disorder,” quoted by Barrett, is from Macbeth (III, iv, 109). Poe was surely pleased by the reference as his own works contain no fewer than 17 citations from the same play, second in frequency after 69 from Hamlet. (For Poe’s use of Shakespeare, see Pollin, “Shakespeare in the Works of EAP,” SAR 1985, pp. 157-186, specifically, pp. 173-174 and 181.)

The title “Reveillé”or “Reveille,” taken from a French word with two accents, over the first and third “e,” has never included the first (acute) accent in English derivatives for “bugle” or “morning call,” used here for a title. But the name of the newspaper seems not to have borne the second accent on the third “e”, either, according to Gregory’s American Newspapers. Poe correctly preserves two l’s here but not in LTR-239, in the penultimate sentence, in which he also adds an extra “e” at the end.

Source: photocopy of the original MS (3 pp.) in Huntington Library. The envelope is addressed to J. M. Field, Esqr., Editor of the St. Louis Reveillé, St. Louis; postmarked at New York, June 18. There are a few torn places in the MS. In the MS, the name “Valdemar” is broken across pages 2 and 3 as “Valde-mar.” This is the only known letter between Poe and Field, though Field seems to have printed one of the editorials and sent Poe a copy of the Reveillé, perhaps with a letter (see LTR-237). On the MS, brackets have been drawn, probably by Field, around Poe’s entire editorial, beginning with paragraph three on page 2.

Letter 234 — 1846, June 16 [CL-638] Poe (New York, NY) to — ? (— ?):

June 16. 1846

My Dear Sir,

Can you oblige me by getting the following in “The Tribune” or some other daily? [page 584:]


MR POE has been invited by the Literary Societies of Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pa. to deliver a poem at their approaching anniversary, but this <as> invitation, as well as that of the University of Vermont, he is forced to decline through continued illness and a pressure of other engagements.


Who is the “great writer of small things <“> in Ann St” referred to by Briggs in the article about me in the Mirror, of the 26? Has anything concerning me appeared lately in Morris’ ”National Press[“]?

Truly yours.


Note: Poe’s request is similar to that expressed in LTR-229 to Duyckinck, and the present letter may also have been addressed to Duyckinck, who probably could have provided the answers to the questions. It seems incredible, however, that Poe himself would not have already known the identity of the “great writer of ... Ann Street,” probably Willis, former editor of the Evening Mirror and author of such inconsequentials as “Trifles” and “Slipshoddities.” On the other hand, The Poe Log (p. 646) suggests G. P. Morris, whose National Press was published at the corner of Broadway and Ann Streets, but further states that Briggs probably meant a “hypothetical journalistic hack.” In the present letter Poe identifies Charles F. Briggs as the writer of the article in the Mirror (see also LTR-233). The Evening Mirror article by Briggs is in the issue of May 25, 1846 and also the weekly issue of May 30, 1846. Both N. P. Willis and George P. Morris, former editors of the Mirror, were friendly toward Poe. Morris’ National Press, begun in 1846, later became the Home Journal (see American Magazines, 1:330). The National Press of May 30, 1846 reprints four paragraphs from Poe’s “Literati” sketch of Willis with a gentle reproof to Poe for misrepresenting the editor’s friend and co-editor. See The Poe Log, p. 640, for Snodgrass’ published statement about Poe’s being elected “Anniversary Poet” by the University of Vermont, doubtlessly Poe-generated.

Source: photocopy of the original MS. (1 p.) in the Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin. No address or postmark accompanies the letter, which is written on a sheet of Virginia’s note paper and embossed “V E P.” No reply to the present letter is known. The [page 585:] two cancellations, as well as a few matters of pointing, are noted by Moldenhauer, Descriptive Catalog, p. 63. TOM [Iowa] first questioned the authenticity of the present letter with “Forgery?,” repeated in his copy of The Letters [1948], with an apparently later response of “Yes finally.” Various aspects of the text probably provoked this concern, but nothing sufficiently curious to raise more than a suspicion. The uniqueness and oddity of the embossed “VEP” may be more disconcerting, similar to the embossing of Poe’s own initials on LTR-223a, LTR-224, LTR-224a, and LTR-225.

Letter 235 — 1846, June 27 [CL-640] Poe (New York, NY) to Henry B. Hirst (Philadelphia, PA):

New : York — June 27. 46.

My Dear Hirst,

I presume you have seen what I said about you in “The New-York Literati” and an attack made on me by English, in consequence. Vive la Bagatelle!

I write now, to ask you if you can oblige me by a fair account of your duel with English. I would take it as a great favor, also, if you would get from Sandy Harris a statement of the fracas with him. See Du Solle, also, if you can & ask him if he is willing to give me, for publication, an account of his kicking E. out of his office.

I gave E. a flogging which he will remember to the day of his death — and, luckily, in the presence of witnesses. He thinks to avenge himself by lies — by [but] I shall be a match for him by means of simple truth.

Is it possible to procure me a copy of E’s attack on H. A. Wise?

Truly yours,


Note: Henry Beck Hirst (1817-1874) was a young poet of Philadelphia. Poe credited him as the author of the biographical sketch that appeared in the Philadelphia Saturday Museum, February 25, 1843 (see LTR-153 and note). After Poe’s death, Hirst wrote a defense of Poe in McMakin’s [page 586:] Model American Courier (Saturday, October 20, 1849, 19:2; see Quinn, p. 653). In his “Literati” article in Godey’s (July 1846, 33:17-18), out soon after June 15, Poe attacked Thomas Dunn English, who caustically replied in the Evening Mirror, June 23, 1846 (see Quinn, pp. 503-504). In the fall of 1845 Poe and English had been on friendly terms (see TOM [RAOP], p. xxviii), with Poe helping to keep English’s Aristidean running while English was unable to fulfill his editorial responsibilities due to illness. For references to names in this letter, see Poe’s “Reply to English” in the Spirit of the Times, July 10, 1846 (reprinted in H [Works], 17:239-247). The nature and outcome of the “flogging” mentioned by Poe cannot at present be determined; both Poe and English having their defenders, the evidence for either side is still too tenuous. English had the advantage of outliving Poe by several decades, and could make whatever claims he wished without fear of a reprisal from his opponent. (One such account is recorded in English’s reminiscences in the Independent, October 29, 1896, 48:4.) There is no extant reply by Hirst to Poe’s queries; however, Poe’s published “Reply to English,” in the Spirit of the Times, suggests either that Hirst sent data or that Poe wrote the article, which is also dated June 27, using details as he knew them, with the expectation of later corroboration. If Hirst replied and sent the information Poe probably incorporated it, but did not change the date at the head of the “Reply to English,” which in that case must have been begun on June 27 (see LTR-237). Sandy Harris and H. A. Wise are identified as a Supreme Court Justice and a congressman and writer, respectively, by Moss in Poe’s Major Crisis, p. 44. Poe’s use of the phrase “Vive la Bagatelle” is a bit of light-hearted bravura. The reference was apparently fairly common in English literature of the period, but seems not to have been used much in France, where it presumably would have originated. Laurence Sterne (Tristram Shandy) and Robert Burns (The Poet’s Progress) both use it in a somewhat bawdy context of “amour,” which Poe clearly does not intend at all. Literally translated, it means “long live the trifle, or triviality,” and Poe inserts it as a confident assurance to his friend that he will gain the upper hand in the dispute.

Source: photograph of the original MS (1 p.) in the Huntington Library. The above letter was found in a pillowcase according to a comment in the Current Opinion, June 1921, 70:832. Though Poe letters “found in trunks and pillow-cases” are frequently forgeries, this particular letter is surely genuine. At the sale of the present letter an auctioneer told TOM that the various MSS came from a relative of Hirst; moreover, the MSS [page 587:] themselves were of such nature as to exclude the possibility of forgery. The word “but” in brackets is an editorial correction.

Letter 236 — 1846, June 29 [CL-643] Poe (New York, NY) to Evert A. Duyckinck (New York, NY):

Monday 29.

My Dear Mr Duyckinck,

I am about to send the “Reply to English” (accompanying this note) to Mr Godey — but feel anxious that some friend should read it before it goes. Will you be kind enough to look it over & show it to Mathews? Mrs C. will then take it to Harden. The particulars of the reply I would not wish mentioned to any one — of course you see the necessity of this.

The no of Littell’s Age contg the notice, is 106 — so he writes me.

Most truly yours


Note: Cornelius Mathews was a friend of E. A. Duyckinck and, briefly, of Poe (see LTR-172); in view of his widespread influence, Poe early entered him in Such Friends as no. 9 (p. 31). It is interesting to see Poe seeking an opinion on his reply to English. He may have felt that Duyckinck, not being inclined to enter such disputes, might help him to set a civil tone; or he may just have wanted to be sure that this prominent editor carefully read his defense. Mrs. Clemm often carried notes for Poe (see LTR-231a, and notes). Harnden’s Express was a public carrier, favored by Poe for important packages (see the Introduction). Reference to the notice of Poe’s Tales (1845) in Littell’s Living Age indicates a letter from Robert Littell (CL-642) and suggests one from Poe (CL-641), since Littell edited the magazine in Boston.

Source: photocopy of the original MS (1 p.) in the New York Public Library, Manuscript Division. The year date is established by the publication of Poe’s “Reply to English” in the Philadelphia Spirit of the Times, July 10, 1846 (see H [Works], 17:239-253; also LTR-237); and in 1846, Monday 29 fell only in June. Moreover, the mounting of the letter is docketed “June 29, 1846.” [page 588:]

Letter 237 — 1846, July 16 [CL-646] Poe (New York, NY) to Louis A. Godey (Philadelphia, PA):

New-York: July 16. 46.

My Dear Sir,

I regret that you published my Reply in “The Times”. I should have found no difficulty in getting it printed here, in a respectable paper, and gratis. However — as I have the game in my own hands, I shall not stop to complain about trifles.

I am rather ashamed that, knowing me to be as poor as I am, you should have thought it advisable to make the demand on me of the $10. I confess that I thought better of you — but let it go — it is the way of the world.

The man, or men, who told you that there was anything wrong in the tone of my reply, were either my enemies, or your enemies, or asses. When you see them, tell them so from me. I have never written an article upon which I more confidently depend for literary reputation than that Reply. Its merit lay in being precisely adapted to its purpose. In this city I have had, upon it, the favorable judgments of the best men. All the error about it was yours. You should have done as I requested — published it in the “Book”. It is of no use to conceive a plan if you have to depend upon another for its execution.

Please distribute 20 or 30 copies of the Reply [page 2] in Phil. and send me the balance through Harnden.

What paper, or papers, have copied E’s attack?

I have put this matter in the hands of a competent attorney, and you shall see the result. Your charge, $10, will of course be brought before the court, as an item, when I speak of damages.

In perfect good feeling

Yours truly


It would be as well to address your letters to West Farms. [page 589:]

Please put Miss Lynch in the next number.

I enclose the Reveillé article. I presume that, ere this, you have seen the highly flattering notices of the “Picayune” and the “Charleston Courier”.

Note: The contents of Poe’s letter to Duyckinck (LTR-236) suggest that Poe wrote to L. A. Godey, ca. June 29, 1846 (CL-644), requesting that Godey print the “Reply to English,” editorially dated June 27 (see H [Works], 17:239), in the Lady’s Book. As established by the present letter, however, Godey chose instead to have it published in the Philadelphia Spirit of the Times, July 10, a sportsman’s periodical, at a cost of ten dollars, sending the bill to Poe. (The original bill from the Spirit of the Times, dated July 10, 1846 and noted as for advertising “E. A. Poe’s Reply” is in the Gimbel Collection of the Philadelphia Free Library. The charge apparently also covered 100 copies of the newspaper containing the reply.) Poe’s apparent irritation with Godey may be better explained by quoting Poe’s rough summary of the situation from his MS for The Living Writers of America: “Godey demands a rep[ly], and I wrote it and sent it to him at his request. After a month’s delay it appeared in the Sp[irit] of [the] Times without my seeing proofs & accompanied by the foll[owing] letter (Give it). To which I sent the fol[lowing] reply (Give it). G[odey] returns the letter, and refuses me the 100 papers ... ” (printed in Pollin, “The Living Writers of America,” SAR 1991, p. 163). The “competent attorney” was E. L. Fancher (see LTR-238); concerning the “damages,” see LTR-253a and note. For identification of Miss Anne C. Lynch, see the note to LTR-224; the “Literati” article on “Miss Lynch” appeared in Godey’s, September 1846 (reprinted in H [Works], 15:116-118). Joseph M. Field printed in his Daily Reveillé (St. Louis), June 30, 1846, and in his weekly Reveillé, July 6, 1846, an article made up largely from Poe’s letter to him of June 15 (LTR-233). The article in the New Orleans Picayune, July 15, 1846 (reprinted in Moss, Poe’s Major Crisis, pp. 65-66) is sympathetic to Poe, defending him against what it characterizes as “a personal persecution.” About the other favorable notice cited by Poe, Moss states, “My search through the Charleston Courier for this period uncovered no mention of Poe” (Poe’s Major Crisis, p. 67). Moss further observes that Poe had to seek for corroborative and commendatory support away from New York City, where his public reputation and his circle of powerful friends were much reduced (Poe’s Major Crisis, p. 21). [page 590:]

Source: photocopy of the original MS (2 pp.) in the Boston Public Library. The envelope is addressed to Godey, as editor of the Lady’s Book, Philadelphia, and is postmarked July 16. Poe is replying to a letter from Godey, before July 16, 1846 (CL-645). The present letter suggests an exchange of correspondence numbering four items: two from Poe (CL-644 and the present letter) and two from Godey (CL-645 and CL-648). The only evidence that Godey replied to Poe’s letter of July 16 is found in the fact that the cover of Poe’s present letter shows on the verso the West Farms address; thus Godey reversed the cover and directed his reply to Poe at the address given in the postscript of the present letter.

Letter 238 — 1846, July 17 [CL-647] Poe (New York, NY) to John Bisco (New York, NY):

New-York July 17. 1846.

My Dear Mr Bisco,

You will confer a very great favor on me by stepping in, when you have leisure, at the office of E. L. Fancher, Attorney-at-Law, 33 John St. Please mention to him that I requested you to call in relation to Mr English. He will, also, show you my Reply to some attacks lately made upon me by this gentleman.

Cordially yours.


Mr John Bisco.

Note: John Bisco, publisher of the BJ, had sold his interest in the magazine to Poe in October 1845 (see several contracts between Bisco and Poe printed in Quinn, pp. 751-753). Enoch L. Fancher, as Poe’s lawyer, prosecuted the case against Fuller and Clason, editor and proprietor of the Evening Mirror, in the Superior Court of New York City. The legal action was instituted on July 23, 1846, and closed on February 17, 1847, with a verdict of $225 damages in Poe’s favor (see Poe’s letter to Fancher, collecting the money, LTR-253a). In spite of losing the suit, Fuller remained defiant, publishing a notice in the Evening Mirror for June 7, 1847, which characterized Poe as “the poor wretch who succeeded by aid of the law and a sharp attorney in filching our money” (reprinted in Moss, Poe’s Major Crisis, p. 208). Fancher [page 591:] threatened his own libel suit against Fuller, but retracted the case when Fuller apologized in print in the Mirror, July 8, 1847 (see Poe’s Major Crisis, pp. 212-213). For more information on the Poe-English controversy, see the note to LTR-235.

Source: color photograph of the original MS (1 p.) in the collection of Mitch Kirsner, the present owner. It was long tipped in John Bisco’s own volume of the BJ, but was removed following the auction of the H. Bradley Martin Collection, and sold separately. This is the only known letter between Poe and Bisco.

Letter 239 — 1846, July 22 [CL-649] Poe (New York, NY) to Thomas H. Chivers (Oaky Grove, GA):

New-York, July 22 / 46.

My Dear Friend,

I had long given you up (thinking that, after the fashion of numerous other friends, you had made up your mind to desert me at the first breath of what seemed to be trouble) when this morning I received no less than 6 letters from you, all of them addressed 195 East Broadway. Did you not know that I merely boarded at this house? It is a very long while since I left it, and as I did not leave it on very good terms with the landlady, she has given herself no concern about my letters — not one of which I should ever have received but for the circumstance of new tenants coming in to the house. I am living out of town about 13 miles, at a village called Fordham, on the rail-road leading north. We are in a snug little cottage, keeping house, and would be very comfortable, but that I have been for a long time dreadfully ill. I am getting better, however, although slowly, and shall get well. In the meantime the flocks of little birds of prey that always take the opportunity of illness to peck at a sick fowl of larger dimensions, have been endeavoring with all their power to effect my ruin. My dreadful poverty, also, has given them every advantage. In fact, my dear friend, I have been driven to the very gates of death and a despair more dreadful than death, and I had not even one friend, out of my family, with whom to advise. What would I not have given for [page 592:] the kind pressure of your hand! It is only a few days since that I requested my mother in law, Mrs Clemm, to write to you — but she put it off from day to day.

I send you, as you request, the last sheet of the “Luciferian Revelation”. There are several other requests in your letters [page 2] which I know you would pardon me for not attending to if you only were aware of my illness, and how impossible it is for me to put my foot out of the house or indeed to help myself in any way. It is with the greatest difficulty that I write you this letter — as you may perceive, indeed, by the M.S. I have not been able to write one line for the Magazines for more than 5 months — you can then form some idea of the dreadful extremity to which I have been reduced. The articles lately published in “Godey’s Book” were written and paid for a long while ago.

Your professions of friendship I reciprocate from the inmost depths of my heart. Except yourself I have never met the man for whom I felt that intimate sympathy (of intellect as well as soul) which is the sole basis of friendship. Believe me that never, for one moment, have I doubted the sincerity of your wish to assist me. There is not one word you say that I do not see coming up from the depths of your heart.

There is one thing you will be glad to learn: — It has been a long while since any artificial stimulus has passed my lips. When I see you — should that day ever come — this is a topic on which I desire to have a long talk with you. I am done forever with drink — depend upon that — but there is much more in this matter than meets the eye.

Do not let anything in this letter impress you with the belief that I despair even of worldly prosperity. On the contrary although I feel ill, and am ground into the very dust with poverty, there is a sweet hope in the bottom of my soul.

I need not say to you that I rejoice in your success with the silk. I have always conceived it to be a speculation [page 3] full of promise if prudently conducted. The revulsion consequent upon the silk mania has, of course, induced the great majority of mankind to look unfavorably upon the business — but such feelings should have no [page 593:] influence with the philosophic. Be cautious and industrious — that is all.

I enclose you a slip from the “Reveilée” [sic]. You will be pleased to see how they appreciate me in England.

When you write, address simply “New-York-City”. There is no Post Office at Fordham.

God Bless You.

Ever Your friend,

Edgar A Poe

P.S. I have been looking over your “Luciferian Revelation” again. There are some points at which I might dissent with you — but there [are] a 1000 glorious thoughts in [it.]

Note: By October 1, 1845, Poe had left 195 East Broadway and gone to 85 Amity Street (see LTR-215). According to Quinn (p. 506), Poe later moved to Turtle Bay, now at the end of 47th Street, and then to Fordham, by May or June; thus Chivers’ letters may well have been delayed. Poe’s statement that he had not written “one line” for the magazines is hardly true, though a number of his compositions printed in the first half of 1846, especially reviews, were probably written in 1845. (Poe repeats a nearly identical claim in the beginning of LTR-241, to G. W. Eveleth.) Among these items are “The Sphinx” (Arthur’s Ladies’ Magazine, January 1846), and several reviews: Wm. G. Simms’ The Wigwam and the Cabin (Godey’s, January 1846), Mary E. Hewitt’s The Songs of Our Land, and Other Poems (Godey’s, February 1846), Frances S. Osgood’s A Wreath of Wild Flowers from New-England (Godey’s, March 1846), and Wm. C. Bryant’s Complete Poetical Works (Godey’s, April 1846). It seems highly unlikely that “The Philosophy of Composition” (Graham’s, April 1846) could have been written before the demise of the BJ, in January 1846. Based on Poe’s letters, at least most of the “Literati” papers were surely prepared in 1846. (See LTR-227, and also LTR-241, where he says, “I thought too little of the series myself to guard sufficiently against haste, inaccuracy, or prejudice.” Also see the “Editor’s Book Table,” Godey’s, June 1846, reprinted in H [Works], 15:viii-ix: “Mr. Poe has been ill, but we have letters from him of very recent dates; also a new batch of the Literati” — a statement that, despite its obvious “editorial” purpose, does [page 594:] suggest the recency of the papers.) Poe may mean, of course, that he has not written any truly literary pieces. In any case, he is probably not exaggerating the extent of his poverty. The cultivation of silk had been attempted many times in the United States, beginning in colonial days. With the encouragement of the government, and the introduction of Morus multicaulis, a variety of mulberry plant that seemed ideally suited to the silkworms and the climate of the southern United States, the 1830s saw a sudden burst of interest in the experiment. The resulting “silk mania,” however, was doomed by the investments required, and further set back by a series of heavy frosts which killed the young trees. (For a useful summary of the history of silk production in the United States, see R. H. Cherry, “History of Sericulture,” Bulletin of the Entomological Society of America, 33:83-84.) Chivers, besides being a poet, invented “a machine for unwinding the fibre from silk cocoons” (see W [1909], 2:380). For the St. Louis Reveillé, reprinting the praise of Miss Elizabeth Barrett Barrett, provided by Poe, see LTR-233 and note. Poe’s aberrant spelling of the title as “Reveilée” is given differently in LTR-233.

Source: photocopy of the original MS (3 pp.) in the Huntington Library. The identity of Chivers as the “Friend” is established by the reference to his “Luciferian Revelation” in Chivers to Poe, September 9, 1845 (CL-564). As Poe states, Chivers has written six letters (CL-591, perhaps more), all lost, since Poe’s last, November 15, 1845 (LTR-216). Chivers placed a cross after “Reveilé,” on page 3 of the MS, and then noted at the end of the letter: “The following, is the article from the Home Journal to which he refers.” In the last sentence of the letter, “are” is added editorially, and “it” is suggested as the word blotted out by the wax seal.

Letter 240 — 1846, August 9 [CL-654] Poe (New York, NY) to Philip P. Cooke (Millwood, VA):

New-York — August 9. 1846.

My Dear Sir,

Never think of excusing yourself (to me) for dilatoriness in answering letters — I know too well the unconquerable procrastination which besets the poet. I will place it all to the accounts of the turkeys. Were I to be seized by a rambling fit — one of my customary passions (nothing less) for vagabondizing through the woods for a week or a [page 595:] month together — I would not — in fact I could not be put out of my mood, were it even to answer a letter from the Grand Mogul, informing me that I had fallen heir to his possessions.

Thank you for the compliments. Were I in a serious humor just now, I would tell you[,] frankly, how your words of appreciation make my nerves thrill — not because you praise me (for others have praised me more lavishly) but because I feel that you comprehend and discriminate. You are right about the hair-splitting of my French friend: — that is all done for effect. These tales of ratiocination owe most of their popularity to being something in a new key. I do not mean to say that they are not ingenious — but people think them more ingenious than they are — on account of their method and air of method. In the “Murders in the Rue Morgue”, for instance, where is the ingenuity of unravelling a web which you yourself (the author) have woven for the express purpose of unravelling? The reader is made to confound the ingenuity of the supposititious [page 2] Dupin with that of the writer of the story.

Not for the world would I have had any one else to continue Lowell’s Memoir until I had heard from you. I wish you to do it (if you will be so kind) and nobody else. By the time the book appears you will be famous, (or all my prophecy goes for nothing) and I shall have the éclât [sic] of your name to aid my sales. But, seriously, I do not think that any one so well enters into the poetical portion of my mind as yourself — and I deduce this idea from my intense appreciation of those points of your own poetry which seem lost upon others.

Should you undertake the work for me, there is one topic — there is one particular in which I have had wrong done me — and it may not be indecorous in me to call your attention to it. The last selection of my Tales was made from about 70, by Wiley & Putnam’s reader, Duyckinck. He has what he thinks a taste for ratiocination, and has accordingly made up the book mostly of analytic stories. But this is not representing my mind in its various phases — it is not giving me fair play. In writing these Tales one by one, at long intervals, I have kept the book-unity always in mind — that is, each has been composed [page 596:] with reference to its effect as part of a whole. In this view, one of my chief aims has been the widest diversity of subject, thought, & especially tone & manner of handling. Were all my tales now before me in a large volume and as the composition of another — the merit which would principally arrest my attention would be the wide diversity and variety. You will be surprised to hear me say that (omitting one or two of my first efforts) I do not consider any one of [page 3] my stories better than another. There is a vast variety of kinds and, in degree of value, these kinds vary — but each tale is equally good of its kind. The loftiest kind is that of the highest imagination — and, for this reason only, “Ligeia” may be called my best tale. I have much improved this last since you saw it and I mail you a copy, as well as a copy of my best specimen of analysis — “The Philosophy of Composition.”

Do you ever see the British papers? Martin F. Tupper, author of “Proverbial Philosophy” has been paying me some high compliments — and indeed I have been treated more than well. There is one “British opinion”, however, which I value highly — Miss Barrett’s. She says: — “This vivid writing! — this power which is felt! The Raven has produced a sensation — ‘a fit horror’ here in England. Some of my friends are taken by the fear of it and some by the music. I hear of persons haunted by the ‘Nevermore’, and one acquaintance of mine who has the misfortune of possessing a ‘bust of Pallas’ never can bear to look at it in the twilight.... Our great poet Mr Browning, author of Paracelsus etc is enthusiastic in his admiration of the rhythm...  . . Then there is a tale of his which I do not find in this volume, but which is going the rounds of the newspapers, about Mesmerism [The Valdemar Case] throwing us all into most admired disorder or dreadful doubts as to whether it can be true, as the children say of ghost stories. The certain thing in the tale in question is the power of the writer & the faculty he has of making horrible improbabilities seem near and familiar.” Would it be in bad taste to quote these words of Miss B. in your notice?

Forgive these egotisms (which are rendered in [page 4] some measure necessary by the topic) and believe me that I will let slip no opportunity of reciprocating your kindness. [page 597:]

Griswolds [sic] new edition I have not yet seen (is it out?) but I will manage to find “Rosalie Lee”. Do not forget to send me a few personal details of yourself — such as I give in “The N. Y. Literati”. When your book appears I propose to review it fully in Colton’s “American Review.” If you ever write to him, please suggest to him that I wish to do so. I hope to get your volume before mine goes to press — so that I may speak more fully.

I will forward the papers to which I refer, in a day or two — not by to-day’s mail.

Touching “The Stylus”: — this is the one great purpose of my literary life. Undoubtedly (unless I die) I will accomplish it — but I can afford to lose nothing by precipitancy. I cannot yet say when or how I shall get to work — but when the time comes I will write to you. I wish to establish a journal in which the men of genius may fight their battles; upon some terms of equality, with those dunces the men of talent. But, apart from this, I have magnificent objects in view — may I but live to accomplish them!

Most cordially Your friend

Edgar A. Poe.

Note: The present letter is a long, able restatement of many themes enunciated by Poe in various writings, and of considerable importance in interpreting his ideas. Echoes may particularly be found in the serious, analytic achievement of “The Philosophy of Composition,” written several months earlier. The similarity of ideas expressed undercuts the view that Poe intended the essay purely as a hoax. The first sentence alludes to Cooke’s delay in answering Poe’s letter of April 16, 1846 (LTR-227). Lowell’s friendly “Memoir” of Poe appeared in Graham’s, February 1845; Cooke’s was published in the SLM, January 1848, and incorporated the comments of Elizabeth Barrett (reprinted in H [Works], 1:383-392). Cooke also cleverly transposed much of Poe’s own letter as the substance of his article. “By the time the book appears ... ” refers to Poe’s projected but never completed Literary America, perhaps in its earlier form as The Living Writers of America. For more on this proposed book, see LTR-201 and LTR-215. The MSS of the title page and of three articles from Literary America are now in the Huntington Library, for which, see Quinn, pp. 560-561. In addition to these and other MS [page 598:] fragments, volume III of Poe’s Works [1850] was substantially material prepared by Poe’s own hands, given by Maria Clemm to Rufus Griswold for publication.

Evert A. Duyckinck chose the twelve short stories that made up the Tales (1845), published by Wiley & Putnam; the selection omitted several of Poe’s best works, including “Ligeia,” which Cooke admired and criticized with acute understanding in his letter to Poe, September 16, 1839 (CL-200). For more on Tupper and his favorable review of Poe’s Tales, see LTR-233. Elizabeth Barrett’s “opinion” came not from a British paper, as might easily be misinterpreted from the context in which Poe gives the quotations, but from her personal letter to Poe, April 1846 (CL-630). Poe “edits” the passage to suit his purpose, but does not seriously alter its intentions. Griswold’s Poets and Poetry of America was first published in 1842 and went through many editions. Froissart Ballads and Other Poems was published in 1847, three years before Cooke’s death (see the DAB, 4:388-389). Based partly on the present letter, TOM [Iowa] attributes to Poe, as possible, a review of the book in Graham’s (May 1847, 30:323-324). For the novelty of Poe’s tales of ratiocination, especially to the French, see TOM [T&S], 2:521 and footnote. For a further exploration of the ideas in Poe’s work of unravelling what was written precisely to be unravelled, see Pollin, “Poe’s ‘Murders in the Rue Morgue,’ ” SAR 1997, pp. 235-259. See Poe’s discussion on September 21, 1839 (LTR-82) of possible further treatment of the text of “Ligeia.” For a commentary on the 1845 “improvement” of the tale (chiefly inserting his poem “The Conqueror Worm” of January 1843) see TOM [T&S], 2:307-310.

Ironically, the circumflex in the word “éclât” is Poe’s error. In quoting Miss Barrett in the present letter, Poe correctly copies the phrase “for the fear of it,” but for Poe’s misreading of the word “fear” in a previous quotation from Barrett’s letter, see notes to LTR-233.

Source: photocopy of the original MS (4 pp.) in the New York Public Library, Berg Collection. Pages 1 and 2 appear to have been scorched by an iron. In the MS, the word “supposititious” is broken across pages 1 and 2 as “sup-posititious.” It is clear from Poe’s allusion to “the hair-splitting of my French friend” that he is replying to Cooke’s letter of August 4, 1846 (CL-653), in which Cooke says, “I think your French friend fine in his deductions ... but sometimes too minute & hair-splitting.” For an important Griswold forgery of the present letter, see SPR-11. [page 599:]

Letter 240a — 1846, August 24 [CL-655a] Poe (New York, NY) to Frederick W. Thomas (Washington, DC):

New-York — August 24. 46

My Dear Thomas,

I send the MS. to the address you desire — all of it not published in the “Broadway Journal”. Should you wish copies of the portion published I think I may be able to find them.

You make no allusion in your letter to the subject of your last, and I have misgivings that you may not have received the reply which I promptly and cordially sent. My reason for fearing this is first, that you say nothing, and, secondly that I trusted my letter to the driver of the stage which passed my door — I then lived out of town 5 miles on the Bloomingdale road. I am a neglectful correspondent, because I am often out of my wits through a press of business, but I should be grieved were you to think that in a matter of so much importance I had failed you.

I dare not say one word, dear friend, on the final topic of your letter just received. For sorrows such as this there is no consolation but in unrestrained grief. May God bless you.

Most cordially yours

Edgar A. Poe

Note: Thomas’ MS was a series of sketches, first sent to Wiley & Putnam, but declined. From this set, “William Wirt” and “John Randolph, of Roanoke,” both signed “F. W. Thomas,” appeared in the BJ, respectively on August 2, 1845 (2:52-54) and August 16, 1845 (2:81-85). In his letter, Thomas asked Poe to leave the MS at “the counting room of Fitch & Co., no. 14 Wall St.” Bloomingdale Road, in New York City, has changed names several times, first to The Boulevard, and then to Broadway. The place which Poe notes as his address, therefore, would have been 195 East Broadway, where he lived from about May to the end of September in 1845 (see The Poe Log, pp. 530 and 572). Assuming Thomas’ ”last” letter to be the one of September 29, 1845 (RCL-569), the “subject” to which Poe refers could have been the fate of Thomas’ poem, or more likely the request from Thomas for a letter from Poe (“in [page 600:] your most intellectual style”) for a fellow boarder who was anxious to see Poe’s handwriting. The “final topic” from Thomas’ letter of August 14, 1846 (RCL-655) was a brief account of the death of his sister, Fanny, and her two children, a boy and a girl. Returning from Calcutta, India aboard The Ganton, they were washed overboard and lost when the ship ran aground and broke apart.

Source: photograph of the original MS (1 p.) in the Christie’s (NY) sale catalog, December 18, 2003, item 145. Thomas’ address appears on the back of the page, initialed “EAP.” Poe is replying to Thomas’ letter of August 14, 1846 (RCL-655). Not having heard from Poe, Thomas wrote again on August 24, 1846 (RCL-656), which Poe would not have received until after the present letter was already mailed. Poe’s comment implies a missing letter written to Thomas after September 29, 1845 (RCL-569a).

Letter 241 — 1846, December 15 [CL-660] Poe (New York, NY) to George W. Eveleth (Phillips, ME):

New-York : Dec. 15 / 46.

My Dear Sir,

By way of beginning this letter let me say a word or two of apology for not having sooner replied to your letters of June 9 and Oct. 13. For more than six months I have been ill — for the greater part of that time dangerously so, and quite unable to write even an ordinary letter. My Magazine papers appearing in this interval were all in the publishers’ hands before I was taken sick. Since getting better, I have been, as a matter of course, overwhelmed with the business accumulating during my illness.

It always gives me true pleasure to hear from you, and I wish you could spare time to write me more frequently. I am gratified by your good opinion of my writings, because what you say evinces the keenest discrimination. Ten times the praise you bestow on me would not please me half so much, were it not for the intermingled scraps of censure, or [of] objection, which show me that you well know what you are talking about.

Let me now advert to the points of your two last letters: [page 601:]

What you say about the blundering criticism of “the Hartford Review man” is just. For the purposes of poetry it is quite sufficient that a thing is possible — or at least that the improbability be not offensively glaring. It is true that in several ways, as you say, the lamp might have thrown the bird’s shadow on the floor. My conception was that of the bracket candelabrum affixed against the wall, high up above the door and bust — as is often seen in the English palaces, and even in some of the better houses in New-York.

Your objection to the tinkling of the footfalls is far more pointed, and in the course of composition occurred so forcibly to myself that I hesitated to use the term. I finally used it because I saw that it had, in its first conception, been suggested to my mind by the sense of the supernatural with which it was, at the moment, filled. No human or physical foot could tinkle on a soft carpet — therefore the tinkling of feet would vividly convey the supernatural impression. This was the idea, and it is good within itself: [page 2] — but if it fails (as I fear it does) to make itself immediately and generally felt according to my intention — then in so much is it badly con[v]eyed, or expressed. Your appreciation of “The Sleeper” delights me. In the higher qualities of poetry, it is better than “The Raven” — but there is not one man in a million who could be brought to agree with me in this opinion. The Raven, of course, is far the better as a work of art — but in the true basis of all art The Sleeper is the superior. I wrote the latter when quite a boy.

You quote, I think, the 2 best lines in “The Valley of Unrest” — those about the palpitating trees. There is no more of “Politian”. It may be some years before I publish the rest of my Tales, essays &c. The publishers cheat — and I must wait till I can be my own publisher. The collection of tales issued by W. & P. were selected by a gentleman whose taste does not coincide with my own, from 72, written by me at various times — and those chosen are not my best — nor do they fairly represent me in any respect.

The critique on Rogers is not mine — although, when it appeared, I observed a similarity to my ordinary manner. The notice of Lowell’s “Brittany” is mine. You will see that it was merely a preparatory [page 602:] notice — I had designed speaking in full — but something prevented me. The criticism on Shelley is not mine; it is the work of Parke Godwin. I never saw it. The critic alluded to by Willis as connected with the Mirror, and as having found a parallel between Hood & Aldrich is myself. See my reply to “Outis” in the early numbers of the Broadway Journal. My reference to L. G. Clark, in spirit but not in letter, is what you suppose. He abused me in his criticism — but so feebly — with such a parade of intention & effort, but with so little effect or power, that I — forgave him: — that is to say, I had little difficulty in pardoning him. His strong point was that I ought to write well because I had asserted that others wrote ill — and that I didn’t write well because, although there had been a great deal of fuss made about me, I had written so little — only a small volume of 100 pages. Why he had written more himself!

You will see that I have discontinued the “Literati” in Godey’s Mag. I was forced to do so, because I found that people insisted on considering them elaborate criticisms when I had no other design than critical gossip. The unexpected circulation of the series, also, suggested to me that I might make a hit and some profit, as well as proper fame, by extending [page 3] the plan into that of a book on American Letters generally, and keeping the publication in my own hands. I am now at this — body & soul. I intend to be thorough — as far as I can — to examine analytically, without reference to previous opinions by anybody — all the salient points of Literature in general — e.g Poetry, The Drama, Criticism, Historical Writing — Versification etc. etc. You may get an idea of the manner in which I propose to write the whole book, by reading the notice of Hawthorne which will appear in the January “Godey”, as well as the article on “The Rationale of Verse” which will be out in the March or April no: of Colton’s Am. Magazine, or Review.

Do not trust, in making up your library, to the “opinions” in the Godey series. I meant “honest” — but my meaning is not as fully made out as I could wish. I thought too little of the series myself to guard sufficiently against haste, inaccuracy, or prejudice. The book will be true — according to the best of my abilities. As regards Dana — it is [page 603:] more than possible that I may be doing him wrong. I have [not] read him since I was a boy, & must read him carefully again. The Frogpondians (Bostonians) have badgered me so much that I fear I am apt to fall into prejudices about them. I have used some of their Pundits up, at all events, in “The Rationale of Verse”. I will mail you the number as soon as it appears — for I really wish you to tell me what you think of it.

As regards the Stylus — that is the grand purpose of my life, from which I have never swerved for a moment. But I cannot afford to risk anything by precipitancy — and I can afford to wait — at least until I finish the book. When that is out, I will start the Mag. — and then I will pay you a visit at Phillips. In the meantime let me thank you, heartily, for your name as a subscriber.

Please write — and do not pay the postage.

Truly Your Friend

Edgar A Poe

Note: For information on Eveleth, see the notes to LTR-228. Concerning Poe’s inactivity owing to his illness, see LTR-239 and note. “The Hartford Review man” refers to Rufus White Griswold (not Poe’s biographer, Rufus Wilmot Griswold), who reviewed “The Raven” (see Bayless, “Another Rufus W. Griswold as a Critic of Poe,” American Literature, 6:69-72). “The Sleeper” first appeared in Poems (1831), as “Irene.” In 1831, Poe was 22 and therefore hardly as young as he is suggesting, although see TOM [Poems], 1:180-181 for his reading Rufiana by William Rufus at Ft. Moultrie in 1827, one of several possible sources. Poe’s poetic drama, “Politian,” was never acted professionally during Poe’s lifetime, but parts were printed in the SLM, December 1835 and January 1836, and reprinted in The Raven and Other Poems (see PE, p. 9; Quinn, pp. 231-234; and TOM’s edition of “Politian”). Evert Duyckinck selected the Tales, published by Wiley & Putnam (1845). The long and favorable review of Rogers’ Poems (Philadelphia: Lea & Blanchard, 1843) appears in Graham’s (December 1843, 24:317-319); in his letter of October 13, 1846 (CL-657), Eveleth had asked Poe if he wrote it. (W. D. Hull and TOM [Iowa] attribute to Poe the review of Robert Tyler’s Death; or Medorus’ Dream, New York: Harper & Brothers, in the same issue, 24:319-320.) The idea may have been [page 604:] suggested to Eveleth because the Graham’s for November contains Poe’s signed review of Cooper’s Wyandotté (24:261-264). TOM [Iowa] and Hull also attribute to Poe at least some of the reviews in the issue of January 1844. Hull, however, says of the Rogers review that it has “some suggestion of the Casket reviewer,” his reference to the unidentified editorial assistant who wrote material for Atkinson’s Casket and was apparently inherited along with the magazine when Graham bought it in 1840. Poe reviewed Lowell’s Poems (including “Brittany”) in Graham’s, March 1844 (reprinted in H [Works], 11:243-249). Poe’s “Reply to Outis” appeared in the BJ, March 8, 15, 22, 29, and April 5, 1845 (reprinted in H [Works], 12:41-106, and Writings, 3:28-33, 37-41, 45-53, 58-65, and 73-74). (See also LTR-195.) For Lewis Gaylord Clark, see “Literati,” Godey’s, September 1846 (reprinted in H [Works], 15:114-116). The “Literati” series ran from May through October 1846. For Poe’s “book,” see the note to LTR-240. For the “Hawthorne” and “The Rationale of Verse,” see LTR-259. For Poe’s explanation of tinkling footsteps on tufted floors, see TOM [Poems], 1:373, note to l. 80, which cites Whitty’s 1911 explanation via the lost “Recollections” by F. W. Thomas. It refers to Isaiah 3:16 (also 3:18), telling of the “haughty daughters of Zion” whose “sinful” foot ornaments tinkle — not angelic steps at all. Poe is being disingenuous in his claims about a lack of acquaintance with the works of Richard Henry Dana. His familiarity is shown in his first sentence of the 1841 note on Dana from Poe’s “Chapter on Autography” article: “The frequent subject of comment in our Reviews” (H [Works], 15:224) and nine instances in PD, p. 25. Dana also appears in Such Friends, as no. 228 (p. 23). In his October 13, 1846 letter to Poe (CL-657) Eveleth had commented: “Without doubt you have made rather too long a leap backwards from the popular voice in placing Richd. H. Dana so far in the rear of American Poets.” In Poe’s entry on Halleck from the “Literati” series, Poe ranks Dana rather low on the list of principle American poets, and further discredits him by noting that Dana owes, “a very large portion of his reputation to his quondam editorial connection with ‘The North American Review’” (Godey’s, July 1846, 33:13).

Source: photocopy of the original MS (3 pp.) in the New York Public Library, Berg Collection. The envelope was addressed to “G. W. Evelett [sic] Esqr./ Phillips / Maine,” and was postmarked New York, December 16. Pages 1 and 3 of the MS are torn in several places along the right margin; the bracketed not, page 3, was written in by a strange hand at a torn place in the MS. In the MS, the word “itself” is broken across pages [page 605:] 1 and 2 as “it-self.” Poe is replying to Eveleth’s letter of June 9, 1846 (CL-634), which thanks Poe for returning money sent him as a subscription to the BJ, in reply to Poe’s letter of April 16, 1846 (LTR-228); this is the “lost” item suggested by Wilson [PE, p. 3]. Poe’s present letter is also replying to Eveleth’s of October 13, 1846 (CL-657).

Letter 242 — 1846, December 24 [CL-662] Poe (Fordham, NY) to Evert A. Duyckinck (New York, NY):

Fordham — Dec. 24. 46.

Dear Duyckinck,

You remember showing me about a year ago, at your house, some English stanzas — by a lady I think — from the rhythm of which Longfellow had imitated the rhythm of the Proem to his “Waif.” I wish very much to see the poem — do you think you could loan me the book, or (which will answer as well) give me the title of the book in full, and copy me the 2 first stanzas? I will be greatly obliged if you can.

I am much in need, also, of Gilfillan’s “Sketches of Modern Literature” — 2 vols — published by Appleton. If you could loan me the work (or the vol. containing the sketch of Emerson) I would take it as a great favor.

I am taking great care of your Irving & Arcturus — but, unless you need them, I should like to keep them some time longer — as I have to make constant reference to them.

Truly yours

E A Poe

Note: Poe’s present letter is the first known to be headed “Fordham,” although his July 16, 1846 letter to L. A. Godey (LTR-237) notes, “It would be as well to address your letters to West Farms,” which was the post office nearest to Fordham. For Poe’s previous address, see the note to LTR-215. If Duyckinck supplied them, Poe apparently made no specific use of the stanzas “Longfellow had imitated.” In his lecture on [page 606:] “The Poetic Principle” (first published in the Home Journal, August 31, 1850, but written towards the end of 1848), Poe quotes the “Proem” of Longfellow’s Waif, praising the rhythm, but making no mention of a purported source. Reviewing the poem in what would become part of a series he would later call “the Little Longfellow War,” Poe commented that “although full of beauties, it is infected with a moral taint,” accusing Longfellow of imitation of Thomas Hood and Leigh Hunt (Evening Mirror, January 14, 1845). Poe had reviewed George Gilfillan’s Sketches of Modern Literature and Eminent Literary Men (Appleton’s Literary Miscellany, Nos. 6 and 7) in the BJ, December 27, 1845 (see Writings, 3:351 and 4:260). His stress, however, was only on William Godwin in vol. I, not Emerson, in vol. II. Poe’s request to see a copy of something he had clearly possessed a year earlier further encourages the idea that he promptly sold the books obtained for reviews. As noted in LTR-243, Poe was probably gathering material for his projected book on Literary America when he asked for the volumes (see LTR-241, and the note to LTR-240). For Arcturus, see the note to LTR-192a and Poe’s “Literati” entry on Duyckinck (Godey’s Lady’s Book, July 1846, 33:15).

Source: photocopy of the original MS (1 p.) in the New York Public Library, Manuscript Division.

Letter 243 — 1846, December 24 [CL-663] Poe (New York, NY) to William D. Ticknor (Boston, MA):

New-York : Dec. 24, 46.

Wm. D. Ticknor Esqr

Dr Sir,

I am engaged on a work which I will probably call “Literary America,” and in which I propose to make a general and yet a minute survey of our Letters. I wish, of course, to speak of Oliver Wendell Holmes, and as I can say nothing of him to which you, as his publisher, could object, I venture to ask you for a copy of his Poems, and any memoranda, literary or personal, which may serve my purpose, and which you may have it in your power to supply. If you could procure me his autograph, also, I would be greatly obliged to you. [page 607:]

You will of course understand that I should not feel justified in asking these favors, unless I thought, as all men do, very highly of Mr Holmes.

Please send anything for me, to the care of Freeman Hunt Esq, Merchants’ Magazine Office, N. York.

Very truly and respectfully Yours

Edgar A Poe.

Note: Literary America, never completed or published, exists today primarily in MSS in the Huntington Library and the University of Texas, including articles on Christopher Pearse Cranch, Richard Adams Locke, Henry Carey [Cary], James Lawson, and Laughton Osborn. Various additional fragments exist in other collections, including one long article on Mary Hewitt and a shorter note on George Bush in a private collection. (See also LTR-240 and note.) In publishing the “Literati,” Griswold substituted the article on “Thomas Dunn Brown” for Poe’s earlier article on English in Godey’s (July 1846, 33:17-18). Since the MS exists, Poe surely wrote the notice on “Dunn Brown,” although there is no way to know whether or not he intended to actually print it in that form. The firm of William D. Ticknor & Company, publishers, was located at 135 Washington Street, Boston, and was called the Old Corner Bookstore (DAB, 18:528-529); the company was known as Ticknor, Reed, & Fields from 1849-1854. Poe, therefore, probably wrote his request to Ticknor, as the senior partner, and Fields wrote to Holmes. Whether or not the publishers complied with Poe’s request is uncertain since we have no review or direct comment by Poe, and if he wrote something for his Literary America, the MS has apparently not survived. Holmes did ask that they send the book to Poe, and it is interesting that Poe’s MS for The Living Writers notes “Books wanted,” a list which does not include Holmes’ Poems (see Pollin, “The Living Writers of America,” SAR 1991, p. 172). Freeman Hunt was the editor of the Merchant’s Magazine. For a study of the Poe-Hunt relationship, see Pollin, “Poe, Freeman Hunt, and Four Unrecorded Reviews of Poe’s Works,” Texas Studies in Language and Literature, 16:305-313, especially p. 310. Hunt very early enters into the list of Such Friends, as no. 12, with a “pd 1 yr” indicated (p. 27).

Source: photocopy of the original MS (1 p.) in the Library of Congress, Oliver Wendell Holmes papers. No reply to Poe’s letter or request is known. H [Works], 17:389-390, prints a letter from Holmes to J[ames] [page 608:] T[homas] Fields, which implies a letter from Poe to Fields; Poe’s letter to Ticknor is probably the one meant. (The MS letter of Holmes to Fields, once in the Griswold Collection, according to Harrison, is not now in the Boston Public Library with the present Griswold items.)

Letter 244 — 1846, December 30 [CL-664] Poe (New York, NY) to Evert A. Duyckinck (New York, NY):

Dec. 30. 46.

Dear Duyckinck,

Mrs Clemm mentioned to me, this morning, that some of the Parisian papers had been speaking about my “Murders in the Rue Morgue”. She could not give me the details — merely saying that you had told her. The “Murders in the R. M.” was spoken of in the Paris “Charivari”, soon after the first issue of the tale in Graham’s Mag: — April 1841. By the enclosed letter from Stonehaven Scotland, you will see that the “Valdemar Case” still makes a talk, and that a pamphlet edition of it has been published by Short & co. of London under the title of “Mesmerism in Articulo Mortis.” It has fairly gone the rounds of the London Press, commencing with “The Morning Post”. The “Monthly Record of Science” &c gives it with the title “The Last Days of M. Valdemar. By the author of the Last Conversation of a Somnambule” — (Mesmeric Revelation).

My object in enclosing the Scotch letter and the one from Miss Barrett, is to ask you to do me a favor which (just at this moment) may be of great importance. It is, to make a paragraph or two for some one of the city papers, stating the facts here given, in connexion with what you know about the “Murders in the Rue Morgue”. If this will not give you too much trouble, I will be deeply obliged. If you think it advisable, there is no objection to your copying any portion of Miss B’s letter. Willis or Morris will put in anything you may be kind enough to write; but as “The Home Journal” has already said a good deal about me, some other paper would be preferable.

Truly yours

Poe. [page 609:]

Note: Poe was mistaken in his reference to the Charivari (see Quinn, pp. 516-517). Poe may have been confused by the numerous French press articles concerning the 1845-1846 charges of plagiarism against two translators (Gustave Brunet and E. D. Forgues) for their adaptation of “Murders in the Rue Morgue” eventuating in the exposé of their “source” as being Poe’s tale; see TOM [T&S], 2:525-526. The “Scotch letter,” from Stonehaven, was from Arch Ramsay, November 30, 1846 (see LTR-245). For a brief summary of the printing history of “Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar” see the notes to LTR-245. For a portion of Poe’s letter to the inquiring couriers of the Monthly Record in the United States, early in 1846, see LTR-224c; see also the entire article in the journal itself transcribed and printed in Ian Walker’s EAP: The Critical Heritage (pp. 148-155), accusing Poe of American deceptiveness. Miss Elizabeth Barrett’s letter was that of April 1846 (CL-630). Nathaniel Parker Willis and George Pope Morris had edited the New-York Mirror; but both left it in 1845. Morris founded the National Press: A Home Journal in February of 1846. Willis joined the venture upon his return from England, and it was quickly transformed into the Home Journal (see American Magazines, 1:330, 366, 808 and 2:349). Poe’s friendship with Morris, a popular editor and sentimental poet and songwriter, made inevitable his inclusion as no. 244 in Such Friends (p. 31). If Duyckinck wrote the paragraph, it is unlocated. Several of Poe’s letters to Duyckinck reveal Poe as seeking to show his high repute as a writer and editor, although none of them suggests a contribution or a subscription to the Stylus. Still, Evert and his brother George were very early listed as nos. 7 and 8 in Such Friends (p. 23).

Source: photocopy of the original MS (1 p.) in the New York Public Library, Manuscript Division.

Letter 245 — 1846, December 30 [CL-665] Poe (New York, NY) to Arch Ramsay (Stonehaven, Scotland):

’New York December 30. 46.

Dr Sir,

“Hoax” is precisely the word suited to M. Valdemar’s case. The story appeared originally in “The American Review”, a Monthly Magazine, published in this city. The London papers, commencing [page 610:] with the “Morning Post” and the “Popular Record of Science”, took up the theme. The article was generally copied in England and is now circulating in France. Some few persons believe it — but I do not — and don’t you.

Very Respy

Yr Ob. St

Edgar A Poe

P.S, I have some relations, I think, in Stonehaven, of the name of Allan, who again are connected with the Allans and Galts of Kilmarnock. My name is Edgar Allan Poe. Do you know any of them. If so, and it would not put you to too much trouble, I would take it as a favor if you could give me some account of the family.

To A. Ramsay Esqr

Note: “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar” first appeared as “Facts of M. Valdemar’s Case” in the American Review (December 1845, 2:561-565); in 1846 it appeared in London as “Case of M. Valdemar” in the Popular Record of Modern Science, also in a 16-page pamphlet entitled “Mesmerism ‘In Articulo Mortis’” (see TOM [T&S], 3:1232-1233). Poe did not know about the January 4, 1841 reprint in the London Sunday Times, earlier than the Post’s by one day (see TOM [T&S], 3:1231-1232; also Poe’s error about a French version in his own day; see also C. P. Cambiaire, Poe’s Influence in France, Ch. I). Ramsay was a druggist, according to his own signature on his letter of April 14, 1847 (CL-682). Ramsay also tells Poe that he has not been able to learn anything concerning the particular Allan family mentioned in the postscript, above. Perhaps this postscript about “relations” in Stonehaven gave rise to the strange notion that Poe, a “relation” who had spent a summer’s six weeks with Allan’s family in Ayrshire, was a blood member. This confusion has led to a local Scottish proud conviction that a family gravestone of a David and wife Ann (Allan) Poe is properly an Edgar Allan Poe “monument,” kept in the Saltcoats, Ayrshire Museum (see “Poe Family Monument in Permanent Collection in Scotland,” EAP Review, Spring 2000, 1:80; see also Quinn, pp. 65-66).

Source: color photograph of the original MS (1 p.) in the Free Library of Philadelphia, Gimbel Collection. The envelope is directed to A. Ramsay, Esqr., Stonehaven, Scotland; postmarked at New York, December 30, and [page 611:] at Stonehaven, January 16, 1847. Poe is replying to a letter from Ramsay, dated November 30, 1846 (CL-658). The only other known letter in this correspondence is that of Ramsay, April 14, 1847 (CL-682).

Letter 246 — 1846, December 30 [CL-666] Poe (New York, NY) to Nathaniel P. Willis (New York, NY):

December 30th, 1846.

My Dear Willis: —

The paragraph which has been put in circulation respecting my wife’s illness, my own, my poverty etc., is now lying before me; together with the beautiful lines by Mrs. Locke and those by Mrs. ——, to which the paragraph has given rise, as well as your kind and manly comments in “The Home Journal.”

The motive of the paragraph I leave to the conscience of him or her who wrote it or suggested it. Since the thing is done, however, and since the concerns of my family are thus pitilessly thrust before the public, I perceive no mode of escape from a public statement of what is true and what erroneous in the report alluded to.

That my wife is ill, then, is true; and you may imagine with what feeling I add that this illness, hopeless from the first, has been heightened and precipitated by her reception, at two different periods, of anonymous letters — one enclosing the paragraph now in question; the other, those published calumnies of Messrs ——, for which I yet hope to find redress in a court of justice.

Of the facts, that I myself have been long and dangerously ill, and that my illness has been a well understood thing among my brethren of the press, the best evidence is afforded by the innumerable paragraphs of personal and literary abuse with which I have been latterly assailed. This matter, however, will remedy itself. At the very first blush of my new prosperity, the gentlemen who toadied me in the old, will recollect themselves and toady me again. You, who know me, will comprehend that I speak of these things only as having [page 612:] served, in a measure, to lighten the gloom of unhappiness, by a gentle and not unpleasant sentiment of mingled pity, merriment and contempt.

That, as the inevitable consequence of so long an illness, I have been in want of money, it would be folly in me to deny — but that I have ever materially suffered from privation, beyond the extent of my capacity for suffering, is not altogether true. That I am “without friends” is a gross calumny, which I am sure you never could have believed, and which a thousand noble-hearted men would have good right never to forgive me for permitting to pass unnoticed and undenied. Even in the city of New York I could have no difficulty in naming a hundred persons, to each of whom — when the hour for speaking had arrived — I could and would have applied for aid and with unbounded confidence, and with absolutely no sense of humiliation.

I do not think, my dear Willis, that there is any need of my saying more. I am getting better, and may add — if it be any comfort to my enemies — that I have little fear of getting worse. The truth is, I have a great deal to do; and I have made up my mind not to die till it is done.

Sincerely yours,

Edgar A. Poe.

Note: The “paragraph” that Poe refers to appeared in the New York Morning Express, December 15, 1846 (page 2, col. 1):

ILLNESS OF EDGAR A. POE. — We regret to learn that this gentleman and his wife are both dangerously ill with the consumption, and that the hand of misfortune lies heavy upon their temporal affairs. We are sorry to mention the fact that they are so far reduced as to be barely able to obtain the necessaries of life. That is, indeed, a hard lot, and we do hope that the friends and admirers of Mr. Poe will come promptly to his assistance in his bitterest hour of need. Mr. Poe is the author of several tales and poems, of which Messrs. Wiley & Putnam are the publishers, and, as it is believed, the profitable publishers. At least, his friends say that the publishers ought to start a movement in his behalf. [page 613:]

For the “beautiful lines” by Mrs. Jane Locke, see LTR-251 and note. “Mrs. ——” is unidentified, but most likely does not refer to Mrs. Hewitt, as Ostrom speculated based on her December 20, 1846 letter to Mrs. Osgood (see H [Works], 17:272-273, n. 1). Instead, a more reasonable possibility would be Mrs. Osgood. “Messrs ——” probably refers to Thomas Dunn English and Hiram Fuller (see the note to LTR-235 and LTR-238). Poe’s letter is illuminated by press editorial comments of this period, regarding the dire conditions and needs of the Poe family, conveniently given as excerpts in The Poe Log (pp. 673-677), with newspaper views from various cities and public statements about financial support from prominent persons. (See also Silverman, pp. 323-325.) These excerpts date from December 15-31, 1846, including Willis’ editorial, “Hospital for Disabled Labourers with the Brain” of December 23, 1846.

Source: text of the letter as printed on page 2 of the Home Journal, January 9, 1847, where it was first published. (A separate copy of the very rare issue of the Home Journal is in the Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore, MD. A page from the same issue is in the Ingram Collection at the University of Virginia, but is undated.) Poe is replying to a letter from Willis (CL-661), which is undated, save for “Wednesday,” but certainly belonging to December 23, 1846. On the holograph appears “Edgar A. Poe, Esq., New York City (to be called for).” Willis’ letter enclosed the Home Journal editorial, which is reprinted in Quinn, pp. 525-526.

Letter 246a — 1846 (?) [CL-666a] Poe (Fordham, NY) to Mrs. Sarah A. Lewis (New York, NY):

[...] It is inexpressibly beautiful, and I should like much to know the young author. [...]

Note: Sarah Anna Lewis (1824-1880), whose pen name was Estelle Anna Lewis, was the wife of Sylvanus D. Lewis, a lawyer, and lived at 125 Dean Street, Brooklyn. According to Mr. Lewis, he and Poe became personal friends in 1845 (see Phillips, 2:374), although he may have written to Poe, as editor of Graham’s, as early as April 21, 1841 (CL-278). Inevitably, Poe included Mr. Lewis in Such Friends as no. 17 (p. 29). Poe makes a very similar comment to that of the present fragment [page 614:] in his review of Mrs. Lewis’ The Child of the Sea and Other Poems, from the SLM, September 1848. Speaking of “The Forsaken,” Poe says, “We have read this little poem more than twenty times and always with increasing admiration. It is inexpressibly beautiful (see Writings, 5:371-374). To J. H. Ingram, Mrs. Lewis explained, “My child-poem — ‘The Forsaken’ — made us acquainted. He had seen it floating the rounds of the Press, and wrote to tell me how much he liked it” (see Mrs. Lewis’ letter to Ingram, cited below). For Poe’s surprisingly active advocacy of Mrs. Lewis’ poems, see the note to LTR-321.

Source: text of fragment as given in Mrs. Lewis’ letter to J. H. Ingram, April 15, 1879 (Ingram Collection, item 344). Ingram excerpted her letter in his 1880 biography of Poe (2:219), changing “child-poem” to “girlish poem.” Miller reprints the full letter in, BPB, p. 200, although he omits the word “much” from the quoted sentence. While it is certainly possible that Mrs. Lewis fabricated the statement, the comment seems sufficiently plausible that it is accepted, with mild reservations.




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 548.


[S:0 - CLT08, 2008] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Editions - The Collected Letters of Edgar Allan Poe (Ostrom, Pollin and Savoye) (Chapter 08)