The Museum Collection

John Sartain Letter to E. Leslie Gilliams

ID #: 637f
Creator: John Sartain
Date: April 7, 1895
Dimensions: 8" x 9.75"
Source: Gift of James H. Rindfleisch
Collection: Poe Foundation, Inc.
Place of Publication:
Publish Date:


Philadelphia publisher and engraver John Sartain (1808-1897) wrote this letter concerning Sartain's account of Poe's unusual behavior during a visit to Sartain's home in July 1849. Although Sartain maintains that Poe was delusional and paranoid during that visit, Sartain believes that Poe was not suffering from delirium tremens.

The text of the letter reads: "In reply to you [sic] inquiry as to whether Poe was suffering from "delirium tremens" on the occasion referred to, I should say not, if I understand aright the appearances of that disease. He was measured and deliberate in all he said, but that he was in a delirium was evident, because after a couple of days he acknowledged that he found what I had said in the beginning was true, that all he had feared was a creation of his fancy. The only correct account of that sad episode is to be found in Lippincot's Magazine of more than a year ago, written by me more to rectify an error than anything else..."

Sartain was a friend of Edgar Allan Poe's and published his poems "Valentine," "Annabel Lee," and "The Bells" in his journal Sartain's Union Magazine.