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Edgar Allan Poe: 1849
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Richmond, Virginia

On 1 July 1849, when Edgar Allan Poe was in Philadelphia, he drank heavily, became intoxicated, hallucinatory, and made an attempt at suicide. He was then detained for public drunkenness and incarcerated for one night in Moyamensing Prison at Tenth and Reed Streets.

The engraver John Sartian reported that when Poe appeared before the the Philadelphia mayor Charles Gilpin the following morning, the mayor recognized him as “Poe, the poet,” and dismissed him without charging a fine.


Moyamensing Prison, built 1822-1835, razed 1967; the Egyptian-style portion was the Debtor's Prison, 10th and Reed Streets, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania [27 December 1953]



John Sartain was an engraver and the owner of Sartain's Union Magazine. He was a colleague of Edgar Allan Poe's when Poe was an editor at Burton's Gentleman's Magazine and then later, at Graham's Magazine.

When Poe was imprisoned for public drunkenness in Philadelphia in July 1849, Sartain took him to his own house, providing Poe with meals and lodging, and caring for him through ten days of delirium and hallucinatory episodes caused by Poe's alcohol abuse.

George Lippard was a Philadelphia novelist, editor, and social reformer, who had known Edgar Allan Poe since the early 1840s. The offices of Spirit of the Times where he was an apprentice journalist, were at the north-west corner of Chestnut and Third Streets, directly across those of Graham's Magazine, where Poe worked.

After Poe's arrest for public drunkenness in Philadelphia in July 1949, Lippard raised a sum of money to pay for some basic expenses of Poe's, as well as for his subsequent passage to Richmond.


Grave of John Sartain, Monument Cemetery, North Broad and Berks Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania [18 June 1954]


Northwest corner of 3rd and Walnut Streets, where John Sartain's magazine was published from 1850-1852, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania [19 June 1954]


965 North 6th Street, home of George Lippard from 1847-1851; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania [Top image--10 June 1960; Bottom image--19 April, 1954]


Office of George Lippard's Spirit of the Times. 3rd and Chestnut Streets, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania [8 June 1960]


Grave of George Lippard, originally in Odd Fellow's Cemetery, later relocated to Mount Peace Cemetery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania [Top image--16 June 1960; Bottom image--9 June 1950]


Inscription on George Lippard's grave, Odd Fellow's Cemetery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania [16 June 1960]



After his wife Virginia's death on 30 January 1847, Edgar Allan Poe returned to Richmond briefly in 1848, and again in 1849.

During his last visit to Richmond, Poe gave a lecture called “The Poetic Principle,” and gave readings of “The Raven.” Poe also visited the Tally family, who lived at Talavera at 2315 West Grace Street. Tradition has it that it was at Talavera, on 25 September 1849, that Poe gave his final reading of “The Raven.”

Two days later, Poe left Richmond for the last time, and died in Baltimore on 7 October 1849.


Talavera at 2315 West Grace Street, Richmond, Virginia [28 June 1969]

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