The Museum Collection

Maria Poe Clemm Letter to Unknown Correspondent

ID #: 472
Creator: Maria Poe Clemm
Date: December 23, 1859
Format: Letter
Source: Gift of Miss Robinson
Collection: Poe Foundation, Inc.
Place of Publication:
Publish Date:


In his letter written a decade after Edgar Allan Poe's death, his mother-in-law/aunt, Maria Poe Clemm (1790-1871) requests financial assistance from one of Poe's acquaintances. After Poe's death, Mrs. Clemm was dependant entirely on the support of her relatives and Poe's admirers. Charles Dickens is among those who donated money to care for Mrs. Clemm. She would die in a charity home in Baltimore in 1871.

The text of the letter reads: "Alexandria 23 Dec/59,/ Dear Sir, I have so often heard my lamented son (E A Poe) speak of you, and your brother Moncure, that I have thought perhaps you would in a trifling degree assist me. I have been trying to go to my friends in Louisiana, where I know I would be appreciated, and made comfortable for the short time I have to live. I cannot accomplish this for want of means to take me to them. Will you contribute a small portion of the requisite sum. And will you have the goodness to interest your brother in my behalf. If you reply to this please direct to me care of Reuben Johnson Esq. Alexandria Va. and I will receive it safely./ Respectfully,/ Maria Clemm."

The letter was presented to the Poe Museum by a Miss Robinson of Washington D.C. who said she found it among her father's papers.