The Museum Collection
Letter from Anna Charlotte Lynch to Edgar Allan Poe
Description:In this letter, dated June 25, 1845, the poet Anna Charlotte Lynch (1815-1891) asks Poe to deliver one of her poems to John Keese for his upcoming anthology The Opal. Poe must have replied shortly afterwards because she replied to him on June 27, thanking him for his words of encouragement and expressing concern for his "desponding tone."
Anna Charlotte Lynch was a poet and teacher who hosted weekly literary soirees at her New York City home during the time of Poe's residence in that city. Edgar Allan Poe was a regular guest at the parties until his conduct concerning letters to Poe from Elizabeth Ellet caused him to be removed from the guest list in early 1846. In 1848, when the poet Sarah Helen Whitman expressed interest in meeting Poe, Lynch gave Whitman unfavorable reports of Poe's character. Poe is said to have given his first reading of "The Raven" at her house in autumn 1844. The poem was published later, in January 1845. The Poe Museum also owns a portrait of Lynch.
At the time of her writing the present letter (June 1845) Poe was owner of one third of the Broadway Journal, which had been struggling financially for months. On May 4, 1845, Poe had written to F. W. Thomas, "I am as poor as ever I was in my life--except in hope, which is by no means bankable. I have taken a 3d pecuniary interest in the 'Broadway Journal-' and for every thing I have written for it have been, of course, so much out of pocket." By June 26 (the day after Lynch's letter to him), Poe decided to quit the magazine but could not find anyone willing to buy out his share. In a document, dated July 3, 1845, also in the Poe Museum's collection, another part owner, John Bisco, agrees to sell his share of the magazine to Charles Briggs. The magazine would be forced to suspend its July 5, 1845 issue.
This manuscript was once in the autograph album of Lucy Dorothea Henry Laighton, granddaughter of Patrick Henry, the orator best known for his 1775 "Liberty or Death" speech . Laighton's daughters gave the album, which also included other Poe manuscripts in addition to the autographs and letters of over 250 other celebrities, to the Poe Museum in 1928.
The text of the letter reads:
"My dear Mr. Poe,
I take the liberty of sending you the poem for Mr. Keese, if you will be so kind as to give it him you will oblige me. Mr. Tuckerman promised to call for it but done so. Will you ascertain if Mr. Keese wishes the poem for The Opal for 1846? I wrote him a note but he has not answered it.
Very truly yours,
Anne C. Lynch