Biography of Edgar Allen Poe
Celebrated American Biographies





EDGAR ALLEN POE - Among the many great literary men whom this country has produced, there is perhaps no name more widely known than that of Edgar Allen Poe. He was born at Boston, Massachusetts, February 19, 1809. His parents were David and Elizabeth (Arnold) Poe, both actors, the mother said to have been the natural daughter of Benedict Arnold. The parents died while Edgar was still a child and he was adopted by John Allen, a wealthy and influential resident of Richmond, Virginia. Edgar was sent to school at Stoke, Newington, England, where he remained until he was thirteen years old; was prepared for college by private tutors, and in 1826 entered the Virginia University at Charlottesville. He made rapid progress in his studies, and was distinguished for his scholarship, but was expelled within a year for gambling, after which for several years he resided with his benefactor at Richmond. He then went to Baltimore, and in 1829 published a 71 page pamphlet called "Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane and Minor Poems," which, however, attracted no attention and contained nothing of particular merit. In 1830 he was admitted as a cadet at West Point, but was expelled about a year later for irregularities. Returning to the home of Mr. Allen he remained for some time, and finally quarrelled with his benefactor and enlisted as a private soldier in the U. S. army, but remained only a short time. Soon after this, in 1833, Poe won several prizes for literary work, and as a result secured the position of editor of the "Southern Literary Messenger," at Richmond, Virginia. Here he married his cousin, Virginia Clemm, who clung to him with fond devotion through all the many trials that came to them until her death in January, 1848. Poe remained with the "Messenger" for several years, writing meanwhile many tales, reviews, essays and poems. He afterward earned a precarious living by his pen in New York for a time; in 1839 became editor of "Burton's Gentleman's Magazine"; in 1840 to 1842 was editor of ''Graham's Magazine," and drifted around from one place to another, returning to New York in 1844. In 1845 his best known production, "The Raven," appeared in the ''Whig Review," and gained him a reputation which is now almost world wide. He then acted as editor and contributor on various magazines and periodicals until the death of his faithful wife in 1848. In the summer of 1849 he was engaged to be married to a lady of fortune in Richmond, Virginia, and the day set for the wedding. He started for New York to make preparations for the event, but, it is said, began drinking, was attacked with dilirium tremens in Baltimore and was removed to a hospital, where he died, October 7, The works of Edgar Allen Poe have been repeatedly published since his death, both in Europe and America, and have attained an immense popularity.


FROM:
A Biographical Record
Of Schuyler County, New York
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
New York and Chicago 1903.


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