Edgar Allan Poe

Biography by Jordan Webb

1809-1827

  • Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston, Massachusetts on January 19,1809.
  • Orphaned at the age of 3, Poe was taken into the home of John Allan, soon to be one of the richest men in Virginia.
  • To honor his new family, Poe took Allan as his middle name, making him Edgar Allan Poe.
  • Poe entered the University of Virginia at the age of 17, but as a gambler, soon began owing money, and by the end of his 17th year of age, he owed a total of $2,500.
  • Owing this amount of money led him into depression, and he purposefully neglected his studies, which led an angry Allan to remove him from the university.

1827-1843

  • Poe went to Boston after leaving school, and persuaded an editor to publish some of his early works in a small pamphlet, titled 'By a Bostonian'.
  • His money, however, was soon gone, so Poe enlisted in the military. He soon rose to the position of regimental sergeant major in his first 2 years but yearned to become an officer, with the hopes of winning back Allan's favor.
  • Poe and Allan were temporarily reconciled in 1829, at the death of Allan's wife.
  • With Allan's help, Poe was given an honorable discharge from the army, and sought for an appointment at West Point, in New York City.
  • While waiting, Poe settled in Baltimore with his father's widowed sister, Maria Clemm, and her daughter, Virginia Clemm. While there, he published Al Araaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems, all works of poetry.
  • In July of 1830, he was sworn in as a West Point Cadet but was later expelled due to a deliberate lack of work ethic.
  • For the next 4 years, Poe struggled as a writer, and entered a short-story contest, eventually winning $50. Today, that would equal about $1,428.57.
  • Poe continued as a free-lance writer and was praised very little for his works in magazines. Later, he married Virginia Poe, who was 13 at the time.
  • During this time, many of Poe's best works were written during his editorial work.

1844-1849

  • In 1844, Poe and his family moved to New York City, where he became semi-famous for his works, including 'The Raven and Other Poems', and 'The New York Mirror'.
  • The Poe's lived in a cottage in Fordham, which would now be in the Bronx of New York City.
  • During the winter of 1846-47, the Poe's had little food, and only a little fuel for the fire, and, growing weaker and more dissipated, Virginia Poe died on January 30, 1847.
  • Poe, growing very depressed with his wife's death, courted various women, in hopes of bringing back her memory.
  • Years later, Poe was on his way back to New York City from Richmond, Virginia, but went missing in Baltimore. Poe was found 5 days after being reported missing, and never regained full consciousness. Poe died October 7, 1849, at the age of 40, and was buried in Baltimore.

Works Cited

  • "Edgar Allan Poe." Poets.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2016.
  • "Edgar Allan Poe Biography." Biography.com. Ed. Biography.com Editors. Web. N.p, n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2016.
  • "Britannica ImageQuest." Britannica ImageQuest. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2016.