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gowan’s antiquarian bookstore

from edgar allan poe, herman melville posted in literature by tacopolis

This address if the former location of Gowan's Antiquarian Bookstore, a store dealing in "Historical Americana". The proprietor was William Gowan, and the shop would often be visited by writers living in the area. Edgar Allan Poe was known to shop here while he was living at a boarding house in the neighborhood.

Herman Melville probably exchanged greetings with Poe here; they were acquainted through a mutual editor. Melville once purchased a copy of Robert Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy here that his father had once owned.

He stated: "I bought this book more than four years ago at Gowen’s Store in New York. Today, Allan in looking at it, first detected the above pencil signature [A. Melvill] of my father’s; who, – as it now appears – must have had the book, with many others, sold at auction, at least twenty-five years ago. – Strange!"

Gowans, a Scotland-born American, might well be considered America's earliest complete bookman- he not only sold books to walk-in customers but issued at least one catalog a year between 1842 and 1870.

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e.a. poe’s former nyc boarding house

from edgar allan poe posted in literature by tacopolis

On April 6, 1844, Edgar Allan Poe arrived in New York City with his wife, Virginia, who was suffering from tuberculosis. Poe had left a successful post as the editor of the magazine Graham’s Magazine in Philadelphia, and was in New York City without a residence or income. His goal was to escape periodicals of "a nambypamby character" and establish his own magazine.

The family settled in a boarding house at the corner of Cedar and Greenwich Streets. Of the location, Poe said:

"The house is old and looks buggy. . . The landlady a nice, chatty old soul—gave us the back room on the third floor—night & day attendance—for 7$—the cheapest board I ever knew, taking into the consideration the central situation and the living...

Today, the corner is home to O'Hara's Restaurant and Pub.

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edgar allan poe cottage

from edgar allan poe posted in literature by tacopolis

The Poe family- Edgar Allan, wife Virginia, and mother-in-law Maria Clemm- moved into this simple, unassuming cabin in May of 1846. At that time, Fordham was a rural community and the cabin was situated on two acres of vacant land.

Judging by the correspondence that Poe sent, the family thoroughly enjoyed the small cabin. Poe became drinking and gambling buddies with the faculty of nearby St. John's College (now Fordham University). Poe wrote his poems "Annabel Lee" and "Ulalume" here, and the story "Landor's Cottage" was undoubtedly shaped by his time there.

Virginia Poe suffered from tuberculosis, and died in the cottage on January 30, 1847. Maria Clemm moved out of the cabin after Edgar died in Baltimore in 1849.

The cottage was sold at auction in 1889 for $775 to William Fearing Gill, who became Poe's first American biographer.

The cabin changed hands several times until the Poe Cottage was moved to Poe Park the corner of Kingsbridge Road and the Grand Concourse. The cottage was placed on the NRHP on August 19, 1980. Tours are available for the cottage.

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edgar allan poe house and museum

from edgar allan poe posted in literature by tacopolis

Using the money from David Poe Sr's military pension (an American Revolutionary War veteran), widow Elizabeth Cairnes Poe, her daughter, Maria Clemm, and her granddaughter, Virginia Clemm, moved into this home in 1832.

A year later (1833), Edgar Allan Poe left West Point military academy and moved into the house with his grandmother, aunt, and cousin. He was 23 years old. Three years later, Poe married Virginia Clemm (she was 13 years old at the time).

Poe completed a number of short stories and poems at this location. Today, the building is the home of the Edgar Allan Poe Society and a museum dedicated to the writer.

In 2011 (for the second year), the city of Baltimore decided not to fund the museum with its prior annual donation of $85,000. Currently, the museum is in danger of folding by the summer of 2012 unless funding is secured.

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gunner’s hall

from edgar allan poe posted in literature by tacopolis

On September 27, 1849, Edgar Allan Poe left Richmond, Virgina to travel to New York City. He stopped in Philadelphia to stay with a friend, James P. Moss. On September 30, Poe departed for New York, but it is unknown if he ever arrived there.

The generally accepted story is that he must have taken the wrong train and ended up in Baltimore. On October 3rd, a disoriented Poe was found drifting in and out of consciousness on the street outside Gunner's Hall, a public house on East Lombard St.

It was election day in Baltimore, and the public house was a polling place for Cornelius Ryan's 4th Ward Polls. A man named Joseph Walker found Poe and was able to extract enough information from him to get the name of an acquaintance, Dr. Joseph Evans Snodgrass. Walker sent the following note to Snodgrass:

Dear Sir, – There is a gentleman, rather the worse for wear, at Ryan's 4th ward polls, who goes under the cognomen of Edgar A. Poe, and who appears in great distress, & he says he is acquainted with you, and I assure you, he is in need of immediate assistance, Yours, in haste, Jos. W. Walker

Snodgrass arrived with Poe's uncle, Henry Herring. Snodgrass commented that Poe's appearance was "repulsive" with unkempt hair, a haggard, unwashed face and "lusterless and vacant" eyes.

Poe was usually a snappy dresser, but was wearing "a stained faded, old bombazine coat, pantaloons of a similar character, a pair of worn-out shoes run down at the heels, and an old straw hat." The ill-fitting clothes led his attending physician to remark that they were not Poe's, as such attire was out of his character.

Believed to be drunk, he was sent to Washington University Hospital where he died (under mysterious circumstances) on October 7, 1849.

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