The Museum Collection

Rosalie Poe's Book of Sheet Music

ID #: 1036
Format: Volume containing 32 books of sheet music
Source: Gift of Mrs. Allen B. Rowlett
Collection: Poe Foundation, Inc.
Place of Publication:
Publish Date:


Edgar Allan Poe's sister Rosalie Mackenzie Poe used this book of sheet music while playing her piano forte, which is also in the Poe Museum's collection. When Poe's mother died, his only sister, Rosalie Poe, was taken in by the Mackenzie family in Richmond while his older brother William Henry Leonard Poe stayed with his grandparents in Baltimore.

Rosalie never married, and she lived with her foster mother, Mrs. Jane Scott Mackenzie, until Mrs. Mackenzie's death in 1865, the year the Civil War ended. Her Mackenzie relatives lost most of their fortune after the War, and Rosalie's inheritance was squandered by one of her foster brothers. She spent most of her later years moving between relatives' homes in Richmond, Matthews County, Powhatan County, and Baltimore before dying in a charity home in Washington D.C. While she was living with her Mackenzie relatives at Sherwood in Powhatan County, Virginia, Rosalie played a piano, which she referred to as her piano. In 1872, the Mackenzies sold Sherwood to Dr. William Turpin and gave him the piano to settle a debt.

Dr. Turpin gave the piano and book of sheet music to his daughter, Mrs. Agnes Sledd. Her daughter, Mrs. Elizabeth Harris, inherited them from her and loaned the piano and sheet music to the Poe Museum in 1944. After 44 years on loan to the Poe Museum, her heir Mrs. Allen B. Rowlett donated them to the Museum in 1988.

Since Poe often performed his poetry for audiences, his work was written not only to be read but also to be heard. Although no recordings were made of Poe's recitations, we can learn more about the style of his performances by studying the music he enjoyed and the plays he attended.

The book contains the autographs of a number of Mackenzie family members. The contents of the book are as follows:
Ocean Wave Quickstep. As performed by Dodsworths National Brass Band. Arranged for the piano Forte

Oh! Share My Cottage. With Variations composed & respectfully dedicated to Miss Willie Frances Cherry of Portsmouth, Va.


Melodies Gracieuses Trois Rondeaux et Trois Airs varies composes pour le piano porte.

Sales Favorite Du Duc De Reichstadt pour le piano

Les Bords Du Hudson. Variations Brillantes Sur le Theme Favore. "A Life On the Ocean Wave"

Gentle Zyphyr. Holder Zephyr Wenn Dien Hauch.

Cavtine De La Norma. Avec variations pour le piano forte.

La Chilena Waltz. Composed and dedicated to S. Abbott Lawrence, Esq.

Galop Brillant. Composed by Boieldieu. Arranged by Henry Herz.

Come Dwell with Me... Arranged as a Rondo for the Piano Forte.

Glenmary Waltzes.

Les Petites Coquettes. Sett of Quadrilles... Arranged for the Piano Forte.

Albina Waltz.

Eighth Company National Guard Quick Step

Gibraltar Grand Waltz

Glenmary Waltzes.

La Belle Virginienne Valze. Composed et dedice a Mademoiselle Sally E. Taylor de Norfolk, Va

Carlotta Grishi's Polka

Celestia Waltz. Composed for the piano Forte... dedicated to Miss Lucretia Jane Cochen of Virginia

Claudia, A Grand March... composed and dedicated to Miss Claudia Sharp of Norfolk, Va.

Variations on the Scotch Air Caller Herring.

Variations on Mozart's Air Suona Dindin Suona

La Parisienne Marche Nationale Variations Caracheristiques pour de Piano Forte

Kathinka Polka. Composed and dedicated to Miss Harriette Borden of St. Mary's Hall, Raleigh, N.C.

Combination Waltz

La Gaite...

Riley's Collection of Duetts for two performers on one piano Forte. Selected from the works of the best authors.

Variations Sur Le Duo La Straniera Io La Vidi

Etudes De. La Velocita pour piano forte on trente exercises.

Deux Polkas Pour Le Piano

The Chamois Hunter, A Chase