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Tag Archives: Richmond Family Visitor

- Poe, Richmond, and the Universe

Editor’s Note: The Library of Virginia, in partnership with Virginia Humanities, sponsors residential fellows during the academic year to conduct in-depth research in the Library’s collections. Richard Kopley, Distinguished Professor of English, Emeritus, Penn State DuBois, spent the autumn researching and writing for an upcoming biography, Thoughts on Poe. The 200th anniversary of Edgar Allan Poe’s birth will be on 19 January 2019.

I had begun a biography of Edgar Allan Poe, covering his time with his parents, actors Elizabeth Arnold Poe and David Poe, in Boston and New York—then with Elizabeth Arnold Poe alone in Charleston, Norfolk, and Richmond—and finally with foster parents John and Frances Allan after Mrs. Poe died in Richmond. John Allan, a partner in the mercantile firm of Ellis & Allan, later took the family to London to establish a branch called Allan & Ellis. The Allans returned to Richmond when the Panic of 1819, and more particularly, tobacco mania destroyed Allan & Ellis and threatened the entire firm. My recent time at the Library of Virginia was devoted principally to that period after their return to Richmond in 1820. I can offer as a sample of my research a newspaper find of cosmic proportions.

Poe probably had access to a telescope at the Dubourg school in London, where he studied in 1816 and 1817. His foster father … read more »

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