Rare Book & Manuscript Library Image Collections

Raymond Biswanger Slide Collection

Edgar Allan Poe: 1841
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Graham's Magazine was formed in December 1840 when publisher George Rex Graham combined Burton's Gentleman's Magazine and Atkinson's Casket. Already working as an assistant editor for Burton Gentleman’s Magazine since May 1839, Edgar Allan Poe took on the post of book review editor in February 1841, where he remained until April 1842.

Poe was reportedly contemptuous of the magazine for its “namby-pambyness,” and resentful of the low salary he received. However, Graham’s Magazine also allowed Poe great freedom to express his literary opinions, which were published in frequently extensive articles.

In addition to literary criticism and reviews, the magazine published Poe's “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” “A Descent into the Maelstrom,” “The Island of the Fay,” “The Colloquy of Monos and Una,” and “Never Bet the Devil Your Head”.

Founder George Rex Graham was one of the few editorial authority figures in Poe's life with whom Poe did not openly feud. After Poe's death, Graham wrote and published in his magazine two defenses of Poe and his art.

Charles Jacobs Peterson was editor of Graham’s Magazine while Poe was assistant editor from April 1841 to May 1842. His relationship with Poe began to deteriorate in the spring of 1842, when Poe's conduct suffered as his wife's health worsened and his personal difficulties increased.

After months of growing tension, Poe and Peterson quarreled openly and Graham discharged Poe, having told the engraver John Sartain, “Either Peterson or Poe would have to go—the two could not get along together.”

Home of George Rex Graham from 1843-1848, 521 Arch Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania [Top image--29 June 1956; Bottom image--10 June 1960]

Grave of George Rex Graham (unmarked), Rockefeller Plot, Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania [7 June 1958]

Birthplace of Charles J. Peterson, 107 Bainbridge Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania [26 December 1954]

Grave of Charles J. Peterson. Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia [19 December 1954]

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