January 18, 2018

Once Upon A Midnight…

In Baltimore, we love our adopted son, Edgar Allan Poe, who lived here on and off, and died in Baltimore under mysterious circumstances. Originally, it was thought he died of alcoholism, but the annual Historic Clinico-patholigical Conference (which I attend!), strongly suggested that it was actually rabies, probably from the bite of a diseased rat, that killed Poe. Read about it here.image

Although The Raven is Poe’s most well-known work, there are so many more that. The beautiful poem, Annabelle Lee. The truly scary Tell-Tale Heart. In 1877, one of my ancestors, Eugene Lemoine Didier (otherwise known as Euledie) wrote the first biography of Poe, and for several decades, the family owned a copy of Tamerlane, Poe’s first book of poetry, 50 copies of which were printed when he was 17 years old. (click image for link to the entire book)image

The tiny house on Amity Street in Baltimore where Poe lived, still stands. In fact, I just took a picture of it the other day, and sadly realized that they’re building a massive apartment block directly across the street which will completely overshadow the house. image

Poe was born on January 19, 1809 in Boston, and his birth is celebrated in Baltimore. For seven decades, a mysterious figure left a bottle of cognac and three roses as an homage to the writer’s birth. In 2010, the Toaster did not show up and a long tradition ended. As you visit Poe’s grave now, you frequently see roses and pennies laid on the stone as a remembrance.

I have several paintings of Poe’s house by my late cousin, Marie Tiffany, and love that she always painted a female figure or a small black cat into her pictures. I love knowing how little the house has changed over the centuries, and how visitors still come to pay their respects to Poe.image

Oh, the Ravens are our football team and the mascots are Edgar and Allan. image

Happy Birthday, Mr. Poe.


  1. Meg, you seem to be connected to so many different aspects of Baltimore's history, that I am not at all surprised your family has a connection to Poe, too. You're like a spider at the center of a giant web that stretches into every obscure nook and cranny of your hometown, so everything that happens sets the web quivering, alerting you to what's up, at which you spin another story for us. Thank you for being you. Magnaverde.

    1. Thanks, Magnaverde! My family has been here since the early 1700's, so we've got a lot of strands of the web!

  2. No zoning to protect the Poe house?
    Absolutely shocking. No protests, no organization formed to protect historic and important structures.
    Sad commentary on the city's respect for its heritage but, then again, can Baltimore afford such "luxuries?"

    1. Sadly not. But if you look at the image of the Poe House, there's public housing abutting it. The whole area where the house is located is getting developed by the University of Maryland because they've run out of room on their Baltimore City campus where their professional schools are located.


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