The Brief Wondrous Life of Edgar Poe

We collectively wrote this timeline of Poe’s life using The Poe Log: A Documentary Life of Edgar Allan Poe, 1809-1849, edited by Dwight Thomas and David K. Jackson (Boston: G. K. Hall & Co., 1987), as published on The Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore website. All material in The Poe Log is protected by copyright, exclusively held by the authors, Dwight Rembert Thomas and David K. Jackson.

January 19, 1809

Poe is born, the second son of David Poe, Jr. and Eliza Arnold Hopkins Poe, in Boston. David (1784 – 1811?) is the son of an Irish-born Revolutionary War quartermaster and Eliza (1787 – December 1811), born in London, is the daughter of an actress, with whom she emigrated to Boston in 1795-96. Eliza began appearing on stage at the age of 9. (Poe Log, 3)

December 8, 1811

Eliza Poe dies while on a tour in Richmond, Virginia. David Poe, Jr. seems to have abandoned the family sometime that year or earlier. Their three children are taken in by different families: Henry, the oldest child, by the Baltimore grandparents; Edgar, by Richmond merchant John Allan, a Scottish émigré, and his wife Frances; and Rosalie, the youngest, by another Richmond family. (Poe Log, 14-15)

January 1814

A receipt indicates that John Allan has begun paying for some schooling for Edgar. (Poe Log, 21)

June 1815

Six months after the end of the War of 1812 (in which the U.S. declares war on Great Britain for a variety of reasons, including trade restrictions), the Allans, with Edgar, sail for Liverpool, England. After visiting his Scottish relations, John Allan moves the family to London, where he sets up a tobacco trading firm, extending the basis of the Richmond-based firm he heads with his partner, largely financed by his uncle William Galt. (Poe Log, 24-25)

April 1816

Poe’s formal education begins at a boarding school in London operated by the Misses Dubourg. (Poe Log, 29-30)

July 24, 1818

John Allan pays tuition for Poe at the Manor House School, Stoke Newington (a village to the northwest of London town, now part of the borough of Hackney) operated by the Reverend John Bransby. (Poe Log, 36) The school and its headmaster are later used as the basis of the setting for the story “William Wilson.” Poe continues his study of Latin and French, and is probably also exposed to horticulture and botany.

June 16, 1820

The Allans sail from Liverpool to New York after the failure of the firm Allan & Ellis, amidst the general collapse of the tobacco market in 1819. (Poe Log, 41-45) This collapse was precipitated by the Panic of 1819, a financial crisis followed by an economic depression, provoked by global fluctuations in the price of cotton and land speculation in the American West, among other things.

September? 1820

Poe begins school in Richmond, under headmaster Joseph H. Clarke. He studies Latin and Greek, and at the age of ten attempts to publish a book of verse, which is discouraged by Clarke. (Poe Log, 47-48)

April 1, 1823

Poe enters William Burke’s “Seminary” for boys in Richmond. Clarke had departed Richmond the previous year, and Poe had been elected by his fellows to compose a farewell ode to Clarke.

June 1824? Or possibly 1825

Poe makes a six-mile swim in the James River, against the current (supposedly). (Poe Log, 59)

March 26, 1825

John Allan’s uncle, William Galt, dies and bequeaths his three estates to John Allan, ending Allan’s business troubles and making him one of the wealthiest men in Virginia. (Poe Log, 63-64) In letters written around this time, Allan also reports that Poe is increasingly rude to him and withdrawn.

February 14, 1826

Poe enrolls himself at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, and studies Ancient Languages and Modern Languages. (Poe Log, 67)

December 21, 1826

Poe leaves Charlottesville for Richmond. Mr. Allen tries to teach Poe about book-keeping and “commercial correspondence.” (Poe Log, 74)

After December 21, 1826

Poe’s and Elmira Royster’s engagement gets canceled. (Poe Log, 74)

May 26, 1827

Poe joins the U.S. army under the name “Edgar A. Perry.” Poe is stationed at Castle Island, Boston Harbor at Battery H of the First Artillery in Fort Independence. (Poe Log, 80)

April 15, 1829

Poe is discharged from the U.S. Army, Fortress Monroe, Old Point Comfort, Virginia. (Poe Log, 90)

Before 29 December, 1829

Poe’s poems get published by Hatch and Dunning; 250 copies made. (Poe Log, 100)

Before 8 January, 1830

Poe comes back to Richmond and gets together with a previous classmate, Thomas Bolling. Poe discusses his life since college, his hardships, and how writing “Al-Aaraaf” helped him cope with such hardship. (Poe Log, 103)

January 1831

At West Point, Poe neglects his military duties—the cause of his later dismissal from the Academy—after his father’s refusal to respond to Poe’s letter in a timely manner. (Poe Log, 112)

February 19, 1831

Poe leaves West Point for New York. (Poe Log, 114)

April 1831

Poe’s book Poems is published. (Poe Log, 116)

End of April–Early May

Poe leaves New York for Baltimore to live with his financially troubled extended family. (Poe Log, 118)

August 1, 1831

Poe’s brother, Henry, dies in Baltimore. (Poe Log, 122)

January 14, 1832

The story “Metzengerstein” is published in Philadelphia. (Poe Log, 125)

October 19, 1833

The story “MS. Found in a Bottle” is published, and Poe receives a cash prize. (Poe Log, 133)

March 27, 1834

Poe’s foster father, John Allan, dies in Richmond, leaving Poe nothing. (Poe Log, 137)

March 15, 1835

After seeing the Baltimore Patriot’s advertisement for a public school teacher, Poe applies for the position, and asks John Pendleton Kennedy for a recommendation because of his financial situation at that point. Poe’s rejected application is what compels him to consider options in Virginia, which is where his reputation as a writer is eventually grounded. (Poe Log, 56-57)

May 14, 1835

Thomas Willis White of the Southern Literary Messenger praises Poe’s story “Berenice.” Poe’s story “Morella” is published in the Messenger in May, and he begins to receive more recognition for his work. (Poe Log, 152)

August 19, 1825

Poe travels to Virginia because of a potential job opportunity as a professor. Although he is turned down, Thomas White offers him a temporary editorial position. (Poe Log, 69-71)

September 19, 1835

John Pendleton Kennedy writes from Baltimore expressing his concern about Poe’s health. Kennedy notes how Poe seems unhappy and troubled even though his work is being circulated on a much larger scale than before and he is receiving national praise. (Poe Log, 19-20)

September, 22, 1835

Poe marries his 13-year-old cousin Virginia E. Clemm in Baltimore. (Poe Log, 704-705)

November 26, 1835

The December edition of the Southern Literary Messenger contains a notice about how Poe has been taken on as a permanent assistant. He makes his money by writing reviews and acting as an editor, making this position crucial to his life and career. (Poe Log, 178)

April 1836

Poe composes “May Queen Ode” for Harriet Virginia Scott (Poe Log, 205)

May 16, 1836

Poe and Virginia E. Clemm are married by the Reverend Amasa Converse, a Presbyterian minister and the editor of the Southern Religious Telegraph. (Poe Log, 207)

June 3, 1836

From Richmond, Poe writes James H. Causten of Washington, inquiring if he will investigate and conduct a claim which his aunt Maria Clemm may have against the United States Government for her father’s services during the American Revolution. (Poe Log, 208)

July 15, 1836

The Newbern Spectator of New Bern, North Carolina calls for Poe’s resignation. (Poe Log, 219)

August 5, 1836

The Newbern Spectator finds Poe incapable of judging the writings of others, especially Robert Southey’s The Doctor. (Poe Log, 220)

January 3, 1837.

Poe retires as editor of the Messenger (Poe Log, 237)

March 30, 1837

Poe attends the Booksellers Dinner sponsored by New York publishers at the City Hotel. (Poe Log, 244)

May 10, 1837

The New York City banks suspend specie payments, marking the beginning of “The Panic of 1837,” the worst financial crisis in American history. (Poe Log, 244)

May 1837

The Knickerbocker Magazine announces that Harper & Brothers have Poe’s The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym “nearly ready for publication.” (Poe Log, 244)

July 30, 1838

Harper & Brothers of New York publish Poe’s novel with the title:

THE NARRATIVE / OF / ARTHUR GORDON PYM. / OF NANTUCKET. / COMPRISING THE DETAILS OF A MUTINY AND ATROCIOUS BUTCHERY / ON BOARD THE AMERICAN BRIG GRAMPUS, ON HER WAY TO / THE SOUTH SEAS, IN THE MONTH OF JUNE, 1827. / WITH AN ACCOUNT OF THE RECAPTURE OF THE VESSEL BY THE / SURVIVERS; THEIR SHIPWRECK AND SUBSEQUENT HORRIBLE / SUFFERINGS FROM FAMINE; THEIR DELIVERANCE BY / MEANS OF THE BRITISH SCHOONER JANE GUY; THE / BRIEF CRUISE OF THIS LATTER VESSEL IN THE / ANTARCTIC OCEAN; HER CAPTURE, AND THE / MASSACRE OF HER CREW AMONG A / GROUP OF ISLANDS IN THE / EIGHTY-FOURTH PARALLEL OF SOUTHERN LATITUDE; / TOGETHER WITH THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES AND / DISCOVERIES / STILL FARTHER SOUTH / TO WHICH THAT DISTRESSING CALAMITY GAVE RISE. (Poe Log, 249)

September 4, 1838

Poe and his family move to a small house on Sixteenth Street near Locust. (Poe Log, 255)

September 6, 1838

Poe’s grandmother Elizabeth Cairnes Poe’s belongings in her will are given to her daughter Mrs. Maria Clemm. This is interesting because Poe had expected to receive an incredible fortune in his past but again isn’t given anything to his name. (Poe Log, 255)

April 1839

The American Museum, a journal published in Baltimore, contains Poe’ story “The Haunted Palace.” Before April, Poe sent “The Haunted Palace” to the Democratic Review, only to have it returned with comments such as “Impossible to comprehend.” (Poe Log, 260)

May 11, 1839

Poe’s financial difficulties push him to seek employment as an assistant editor under William E. Burton, proprietor of Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine, in Philadelphia. Poe is offered $10 a week. For the next few months, Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine is filled with contributions by Poe. (Poe Log, 261)

June 1839

In Philadelphia, Poe is introduced to Henry B. Hirst. This relationship is important because they become very good friends; however, there is a dispute over who is the true author of “The Raven”: Hirst claims that most of the poem is plagiarized and that Poe is responsible for only a stanza of the poem. (Poe Log, 264)

January 1840

Poe publishes the first installment of his ultimately unfinished serial, “The Journal of Julius Rodman,” in Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine, published in Philadelphia. (Poe Log, 286)

May 30, 1840

William Burton sends a letter to Poe, dismissing him as editor of Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine, after he learns of Poe’s plans to start his own journal, The Penn Magazine. Poe responds two days later, accusing Burton of disreputable business practices. (Poe Log, 297-298)

June 3, 1840

Poe sends a prospectus for The Penn Magazine to several local newspapers. (Poe Log, 298)

Before June 11, 1840

Poe publishes the sixth installment of “The Journal of Julius Rodman” in Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine. It is accompanied by a notice from Burton inside the front cover: “Our readers are respectfully informed that in future Edgar A. Poe will not be connected with this Magazine.” (Poe Log, 302)

Before November 28, 1840

The first issue of Graham’s Magazine (formerly Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine) is published. It contains Poe’s “Man of the Crowd.” (Poe Log, 311)

Early December 1840

Poe becomes ill and delays plans for The Penn Magazine until the following March.

January 25, 1841

Judge Joseph Hopkinson replies to Poe’s letter soliciting contributions for the Penn: “It has always been my desire that we should concentrate in Philadelphia as much literary talent as possible, and be distinguished by works of science and genius issuing from ourselves — I have therefore never been reluctant to afford the little aid in my power to such enterprizes — My time and attention, however, are much occupied by my official duties, so that I avoid making engagements which may interfare with them, or may themselves be neglected — I wish your Magazine may succeed, and with the talent you can of yourself bring into it, your prospect is encouraging — I will keep it in my view, & shall be happy to contribute to its support when I have any communications which may be acceptable to your readers — Allow me to remind you that the ruin of our periodicals has been distant subscribers, who never send their money, and the collection of which costs more than is received.”

February 4, 1841

A financial crisis disrupts the operations of the Philadelphia banks. In the morning the United States Bank suspends specie payments; by night most of the city’s other banks have “suspended paying notes, of a higher denomination than five dollars.” The Southern banks, “beginning at Baltimore,” follow the example of the Philadelphia banks and suspend payments.

After February 4, 1841

Because of the bank suspensions Poe is forced to postpone the Penn. He accepts an offer from George R. Graham to conduct the book review department of Graham’s Magazine, at a salary of $800 a year.

February 20, 1841

In the Saturday Evening Post Graham comments that Poe has been forced to abandon and/or postpone, indefinitely, his project of the Penn Magazine.

Early March, 1841

“The Murders in the Rue Morgue” is set in type for the April Graham’s by Barrett & Thrashers. The manuscript was recovered by a young apprentice printer, W.J. Johnston, who preserves it.

June 22, 1841

Poe writes Longfellow in Cambridge, Massachusetts: “Your letter of the 19th May was received. I regret to find my anticipations confirmed, and that you cannot make it convenient to accept Mr Graham’s proposition. Will you now pardon me for making another?” He solicits Longfellow’s contributions, adding an inducement not offered in the other letters: [page 332:] “Should illustrations be desired by you, these will be engraved at our expense, from designs at your own, superintended by yourself.” Observing that Longfellow spoke of “present engagements” in last month’s letter, Poe points out: “The proposed journal will not be commenced until the 1st January 1842.”

January 22, 1842

In Philadelphia, first signs of tuberculosis affect Poe’s wife, Virginia. (Poe Log, 358)

March 7, 1842

Poe interviews Charles Dickens to discuss American poetry. (Poe Log, 362)

April 1, 1842

Poe resigns from Graham’s Magazine. (Poe Log, 363)

April 30, 1842

Graham’s contains Poe’s “The Mask of the Red Death.” (Poe Log, 364)

May 21, 1842

Poe begins the groundwork for his own subscription Penn Magazine. (Poe Log, 365)

December 1842

Poe submits his story “The Tell-Tale Heart” to the Boston Miscellany and it is rejected. (Poe Log, 388)

December 12, 1842

James Russell Lowell obtains “The Tell-Tale Heart” for publishing in his magazine Pioneer. (Poe Log, 388)

Early January, 1843

Thomas C. Clarke, of the Saturday Museum, agrees to be Poe’s partner as he starts his own magazine, the Stylus. (Poe Log, 393].

March 8, 1843

Calvin Blythe has just been confirmed by the Senate to be Collector of Customs in Philadelphia, and Poe rushes to Washington in order to secure one of the supposed vacancies in the Custom House. (His friends send him home a week later for excessive drinking). (Poe Log, 403)

Before 15 of May, 1843

Clarke pulls his support for the Stylus, leaving Poe without any financial backing for the magazine. (Poe Log, 412].

June 14, 1843

Poe wins the Dollar Newspaper story competition with his submission, “The Gold-Bug.” The $100 is a large prize, but does not significantly help his financial situation. (Poe Log, 414)

June 28, 1843

Poe brings a libel suit against Francis H. Duffee (a journalist and playwright from Philadelphia), who previously published a review of “The Gold-Bug,” claiming the story was “unmitigated trash.” (Poe Log, 420)

July 18, 1843

William H. Graham publishes The Prose Romances of Edgar A. Poe. (Poe Log, 426)

November 21, 1843

Poe starts giving lectures in order to make some money. His first takes place at the Juliana Street Church, to “hundreds” with some even “unable to gain access.” (Poe Log, 441)

December 23, 1843

In a lecture entitled “American Poetry” at Newark Academy, Poe reviews and criticizes Poets and Poetry of America by Rufus Griswold. This harsh review is one of several that later motivates Griswold to negatively construe Poe’s biography after his death. (Poe Log, 446)

January 29, 1844

Poe writes to Thomas C. Clarke to lend him money so that he can travel to Baltimore on his lecture circuit. This letter is one testament to Poe’s periodic poverty. Poe was able to lecture in Baltimore two days after writing this letter. (Poe Log, 450-51)

April 6, 1844

Poe moves with Virginia from Philadelphia to lower Manhattan in New York. Mrs. Clemm joins them later that year. (Poe Log, 456, 461)

April 13, 1844

“The Balloon-Hoax” appears in the New York Sun. (Poe Log, 457)

August 1844

The Columbian Magazine publishes “Mesmeric Revelation.” In the same month, Poe publishes “The Oblong Box” in Godey’s Lady’s Book. (Poe Log, 469)

Before September 24, 1844

“The Purloined Letter” is published in the 1845 edition of The Gift. (Poe Log, 470)

October 7, 1844

Poe takes a position as assistant to the editor at the Evening Mirror.  A personal letter by the editor of the Evening Mirror describes Poe’s position as an assistant as “rather a step downward.” (Poe Log, 473)

January 1845

Living in New York, Poe Sells “The Raven” to the American Review, and the poem brings him into the public eye. (Poe Log, 484)

February 15, 1845

Poe Publishes “Imitation – Plagiarism” in the Evening Mirror, and starts a trend of discourse surrounding the subject. (Poe Log, 501)

February 21, 1845

Poe signs on to assist C. F. Briggs as editor of the Broadway Journal. (Poe Log, 504)

July 14, 1845

Poe becomes sole editor of Broadway Journal. (Poe Log, 551)

October 24, 1845

Poe becomes sole proprietor of Broadway Journal. (Poe Log, 581)

November 15, 1845

Poe passes financial responsibility of the Broadway Journal to Thomas Lane after it begins to fail. (Poe Log, 590)

After December 20, 1845

Lane shuts down Broadway Journal entirely as Poe falls back into alcoholism. (Poe Log, 605)

December 1845-January 1846

Poe’s story, “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar” gains increasing recognition and traction, both as a hoax and for its literary merits. Originally having appeared in the American Review, the story is reprinted in the Sunday Times and Morning Post, among others, under the heading, “Mesmerism in America: Astounding and Horrifying Narrative.” George W. Eveleth, a medical student in Maine, writes to Poe, “Your ‘Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar’ are wonderful, if true — if false, you are a genius of wonderfully curious fancies, I must confess. The article suits me very well whether it is fact or fiction. . . . I do not value your critical notices so highly as I should if they were more lengthy. There cannot be much criticism in so few words.” Poe and Eveleth continue a correspondence. (Poe Log, 598-616)

Late January 1846

Poe’s correspondences with Mrs. Frances Osgood are misunderstood and misinterpreted as inappropriate, and Mrs. Elizabeth Ellet interferes with their interactions by persuading Osgood to seek the return of her letters from Poe. Poe becomes angry with Ellet for her interference, accusing her that there have been more inappropriate remarks made in her own letters, and the ensuing scandal damages his reputation among the circles of literary high-standing women and causes his wife, Virginia, great stress. (Poe Log, 623-4)

Around May 1846

Poe, Virginia, and Maria, Virginia’s mother, move to Fordham, a village approximately thirteen miles away from the main city in New York. Virginia Poe had been suffering from illness, and they believed the “pure country air would do Mrs. Poe a world of good.” They live in a small cottage, under meager circumstances. (Poe Log, 627)

June 1846

A Parisian newspaper, La Quotidienne, publishes a translation of Poe’s short story, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue.” This translation is signed under the name “G.B.” and does not attribute the story to Poe. The story continues to be circulated in France, as another newspaper, Le Commerce, publishes an abridged translation signed under critic and journalist E.D. Forgues’ pseudonym. Again, the story is printed without any mention of Poe’s name. (Poe Log, 646, 667)

June 23, 1846

Poe continues to write and publish his sketches of the literary scene and contemporary writers in “The Literati of New York City.” In one of the sketches, Poe writes a particularly scathing critique of one of his literary foes, Thomas Dunn English. English responds by writing a similarly scornful piece titled “Reply,” which is published in the June 23 edition of the Evening Mirror . Because English’s article accuses Poe of fraud, Poe sues the Evening Mirror for libel (Thomas, 649, 657).

November 1846

Mary Gove visits the Poe family and writes that Virginia is “dying of want” and that both are very ill. In December, the Morning Express reports the news about the Poe’s family’s illness and poverty-stricken household, which is reprinted in a number of other newspapers, causing word to spread. (Poe Log, 670, 673-4)

January 30, 1847

Virginia Poe Dies in Fordham, New York.

After 2 February, 1847

Poe adds two lines to “Eulalie,” a poem celebrating a happy marriage: “Deep in earth my love is lying / And I must weep alone.” This comes just days after Poe’s wife dies.

February 17, 1847

Poe’s suit for plagiarism against Fuller and Augustus W. Clason, Jr., is tried. The jury returns a verdict in Poe’s favor and he is awarded $250 in damages.  (Poe Log, 689)

April 1847

Poe composes a poem “The Beloved Physician” for Mrs. Shaw. A sum of $20 for the poem is offered. Mrs. Shaw purchases it for $25 to keep it from being published since it was very personal.

June 1847

Some friend’s visit Poe’s cottage in Fordham and a visitor named Mary Elizabeth remarks on how he was actually “very handsome and elegant-appearing” as opposed to “grave and melancholy.” (Poe Log, 700)

November 1847

Mary Grove visits Poe’s cottage. Mrs. Clemm asks Mrs. Gove to convince George H. Colton to purchase Poe’s poem “Ulalume” for the American Review.  She comments “if he only take the poem, Eddie can have a pair of shoes”.

November 1847

Colton accepts “Ulalume” paying Poe enough for “a pair of gaiters, and twelve shillings over.”

February 3, 1848

Poe begins work on his cosmological treatise Eureka during early January (or slightly before) of 1848. As part of a promotional tour, he delivers a public lecture to a small audience at 7pm at the Society Library in New York, entitled “The Universe.” Tickets are 50 cents. He uses these lectures to raise necessary funds for the establishment of a magazine called The Stylus. Maunsell B. Field, a young lawyer, recalls: “It was a stormy night, and there were not more than sixty persons present in the lecture-room. He appeared inspired, and his inspiration affected the scant audience almost painfully.” (Poe Log, 719-20)

March 2, 1848

Poe sends his 1831 poem “To Helen” to Mrs. Whitman. Sarah Helen Whitman first brings herself to Poe’s attention by contributing a poem addressed to Poe at Anne C. Lynch’s valentine soiree, which Ms. Lynch then forwards to Poe. Sarah Whitman, a poet and widow living in Providence, Rhode Island, soon becomes a romantic interest. (Poe Log, 727-29)

July 10, 1848

Poe, as the guest of the local poetess Mrs. Jane Ermina Locke, travels to Lowell, Massachusetts to give a lecture in Wentworth’s Hall on the “Poets and Poetry of America” and to give recitations from various authors. Poe continues to spread his literary fame across eastern America. He meets Annie Richmond, by whom he is intrigued and with whom he keeps in intimate contact; he grows to love her as a friend. The Lowell Advertiser reports: “Mr. Poe’s lecture on the Poets and Poetry of America, last evening, was deservedly listened to with much attention. His remarks upon the system by which criticisms and puffs are ground out, were, we are inclined to believe, too true.” (Poe Log, 739-42)

July 11, 1848

New York publisher George P. Putnam publishes and issues Eureka: A Prose Poem, a small volume priced at seventy-five cents, which receives mixed reviews and has only a limited sale. Eureka is a treatise on the material and spiritual universe and shows Poe’s interest in the scientific and metaphysical world and his theories of the universe. The text is preceded by Poe’s “Preface”: “To the few who love me and whom I love — to those who feel rather than to those who think — to the dreamers and those who put faith in dreams as in the only realities…” (Poe Log, 742)

September 21, 1848

Poe calls on Mrs. Whitman at her home, 76 Benefit Street, Providence, RI, subsequently declaring his love for her on the 23rd and urging her to marry him. After he returns to his home at Fordham, Ms. Whitman writes him to decline his proposal of marriage, explaining that she is older than he and in poor health. Whitman describes Poe’s proposal: “he endeavored…to persuade me that my influence and my presence would have power to lift his life out of the torpor of despair which had weighed upon him, and give an inspiration to his genius.” (Poe Log, 756-57)

December 20, 1848

Poe returns to Providence. At 7:30 pm in Howard’s Hall, Poe lectures on “The Poetic Principle” before an audience of “1800 people” (Poe to Annie Richmond, 28 December). Presumably impressed by the success of Poe’s lecture, Mrs. Whitman agrees to an “immediate marriage,” as soon as Poe first signs a document that states that Mrs. Power (Ms. Whitman’s mother) still obtain legal control of her family’s estate and that Poe completely abstain from alcohol. The Evening Transcript reports: “This lecture will be attended with a great deal of interest, our readers being so familiar with his numerous productions.” (Poe Log, 778-79)

July 10, 1849

Poe sells his new poem “Annabel Lee” and his final text of “The Bells” to Sartain’s Union Magazine (in Philadelphia). (Poe Log, 816)

Late July and September 1849

In Richmond, Poe proposes to Sarah Elmira Royster Shelton who was once his teenage sweetheart. She accepts his proposal in September. (Poe Log, 821 and 838)

August 1849

Basil L. Gildersleeve, later a professor of Greek, writes about seeing Poe in Richmond. This is significant to us because Gildersleeve later became an original member of the Johns Hopkins faculty. (Poe Log, 822)

Before October 3, 1849

In Baltimore, Poe is recorded as drinking heavily after being persuaded by friends to have a single drink. This is a significant part of the events leading up to Poe’s death. (Poe Log, 844)

October 3, 1849

The Sun reports about an election taking place in Baltimore. This is significant because Poe is found incoherent at a polling place. Some Poe scholars have theorized that someone used him and other inebriated men to vote multiple times in the polls. (Poe Log, 844)

October 3, 1849

Poe is admitted to the Washington College Hospital at the corner of Broadway and Hampstead Street in Baltimore. (Poe Log, 845)

October 7, 1849

Poe dies. (Poe Log, 845-846)

October 7-8, 1849

Poe’s remains are visited by Baltimoreans, many of whom want to obtain a lock of his hair. This demonstrates that at his death, Poe had already achieved a degree of fame. (Poe Log, 846)

October 9, 1849

Rufus Griswold publishes his scathing obituary for Poe in the New York Daily Tribune. (Poe Log, 848)

December 23rd – Poe drinks and the engagement is off

Poe begins to drink again on the morning of December 23rd. He calls on Ms. Whitman to express his most profound contrition and regret. Ms. Whitman realizes that he cannot free himself from his alcoholism and that she feels helpless and not able to exercise any permanent influence over his life. She abruptly cancels their engagement and her mother insists Poe leave. Poe leaves for New York that evening, never to see her again.

Whitman’s letter to Hewitt: “While he was endeavouring to win from me an assurance that our parting should not be a final one, my mother saved me from a response by insisting upon the immediate termination of the interview. Mr. Poe then started up and left the house with an expression of bitter resentment at what he termed, the ‘intolerable insults’ of my family.”

[Poe Log page 779-80]