Wikimedia CommonsIt is quite possible that Edgar Allan Poe is named for the character Edgar in William Shakespeare’s "King Lear" (depicted above). Poe’s parents were both actors and were in a production of "King Lear" shortly before his birth.
WikipediaPoe’s middle name, Allan, was not given to him by his biological parents, but instead came from John and Frances Allan – who took him in at the age of two after his father abandoned him and his mother died.
Wikimedia CommonsPoe joined the United States army in 1827 under the false identity of Edgar A. Perry. He claimed to be 22, even though he was just 18 at the time. He did this in order to prevent his foster father from locating him; they never got along with each other, and Poe was looking to escape their troubled relationship. He ended up disclosing the identity lie, and was honorably discharged. Above is an excerpt from the court proceedings which led to Poe's honorable discharge.
WikipediaIn 1836, Edgar Allan Poe married his 13 year-old first cousin Virginia, depicted above. The marriage certificate falsely lists her age as 21.
WikipediaOne of only 12 existing copies of Poe’s first published work, 1827’s "Tamerlane and Other Poems" (above) sold at a 2009 auction for $662,500 — a record for a piece of American Literature.
Wikipedia"Tamerlane and Other Poems" doesn’t even carry Poe’s name; instead it is credited to “A Bostonian,” which was another attempt to prevent his foster father from ascertaining Poe's whereabouts.
WikipediaEdgar Allan Poe’s most famous work, "The Raven," was not quite the money-maker you might expect. The magazine American Review paid the author $9 for the rights to print what would become one of the most recognized poems of all time.
Wikimedia CommonsHis 1841 story depicted above, "Murders in the Rue Morgue," is credited with creating the modern detective story. The lead character Mr. Dupin was the inspiration for many literary detectives to follow, including Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot.
WikipediaIn the days before his death, Poe was found at a tavern, Ryan’s Fourth Ward Polls, on the day of a Baltimore city election. The writer was incoherent, “in great distress” and wearing the clothes of another man. These facts lead many to believe Poe had been a victim of cooping (depicted above), a common practice of the time where unwilling people were taken from the streets, intoxicated or drugged, then taken from one polling location to another to manipulate the vote for a certain candidate. The writer was taken to Washington Medical College where he would die four days later.
WikipediaThere are many theories as to the true cause of Edgar Allan Poe’s death, but no one really knows the circumstances of the poet’s demise. All medical records and even Poe's death certificate have been lost to time.
Wikimedia CommonsEdgar Allan Poe’s obituary was written by his professional and personal rival, Rufus Wilmot Griswold (above). Griswold wrote a scathing and libelous account of the deceased poet’s life, signing it with the name “Ludwig” in an attempt to conceal his identity.
Wikimedia CommonsPoe’s body was moved 26 years after his death. Originally buried in an unmarked grave at his grandfather’s family plot, his body was then moved to a coveted spot at the Westminster Burying Grounds in Baltimore. The first burial plot now contains a marker to identify where the author once rested.
WikipediaWhile moving his body to its new resting place, Poe’s coffin broke apart, exposing the writer’s remains to those in attendance. Pieces of the coffin became prized collector’s items.
WikipediaNearly 40 years after his death, the remains of Edgar Allan Poe’s wife Virginia (above) finally made their way to be interned beside her husband. It was a strange journey: one of the writer’s biographers, William Gill, had acquired her bones and kept them under his bed in a box for a number of years before eventually sending them to Baltimore to be buried next to her husband.
Established in 1996, the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League took their name as a tribute to Edgar Allan Poe — who lived and died in Baltimore in 1849.
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