Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Poe mss., 1811-1934, consist of the papers of Edgar Allan Poe, 1809-1849. Poe was born in Boston, MA, and raised in Richmond, VA. He dropped out of the University of Virginia due to lack of funds, and failed out of the Army at West Point before embarking on an enduring literary career. He is known as the founder of the modern detective story and a master of the horror genre through stories like "The Pit and the Pendulum," "The Masque of the Red Death," and "The Tell-Tale Heart," and poems like "The Raven." He died in 1849.

The collection contains primarily correspondence written by Edgar Allan Poe to the poet Sarah Helen Whitman, 1803-1878. The letters convey the romantic relationship between Poe and Whitman, initially kept secret and controversial among family and friends up to their aborted engagement. Also included are carte de visite photographs, including the only known full-length daguerreotype of Poe; crayon portraits and other artwork; and locks of Poe's hair.

An inventory is available.

Acquired: ca. 1940s

Related manuscripts: Whitman mss.

Collection size: 56 items

For more information about this collection and any related materials contact the Public Services Department, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. Call (812) 855-2452 or send an email using our Ask a Question form.