Skip to main content

tv   Edgar Allen Poe Museum  CSPAN  February 19, 2017 10:44am-11:13am EST

10:44 am
following the end of the war it became a headquarters for the u.s. army, and in 1870 was given back to the city of richmond. the whole mess since been restored and is open to the public as a museum. up next week visit the edgar allen poe museum, the only museum in richmond dedicated to a literary figure. >> edgar allen poe is the right who put american literature on the map. he's the one who was the first international influential american writer. he invented the detective stories. he is one of the pioneers of science fiction. he built the tale of psychological terror. he wrote the only poem that so famous that has its own nfl team than after. the idea that a home or work of literature or piece of art didn't have to teach you something, didn't have to have a moral, didn't have to make a better person. it was enough that a terror
10:45 am
story scares you because it's doing its job. this also meant that because the store didn't have to teach you something, virtue didn't have to reward it. the building can actually win in the end. richmond is where poe spent more of his life than any other city. a place he called her something. he referred referred to himself as a virginian. this is where he was orphaned at the age of two and he grew up with foster parents, john and francis allen. without richmond he would not have had the middle name of allen. this is where he first fell in love. this is where he wrote his first poetry. this is where he had a lot of his formative inspirations that inspired literature for years to come. this is where he was married. this is where he got his first job in journalism. if it hadn't been for richmond, poe would not have produced a lot of his best work and wouldn't affect a chance to experiment when he was in his
10:46 am
early 20s and find his literary voice. >> the poe museum has been open since 1922. this is the world largest collection of edgar allen poe artifacts, memorabilia, manuscripts, clothing, personal items. the museum consists of four buildings and all surrounding an enchanted garden is laid out in 1921 based on his poetry. it re-creates his poems in paradise, for which my soul divine. all the flowers were mine. when the founders of the museum opened it, it was virginia's first museum and first monument to a writer. not to a military, political leader, but to writer. it showed virginia and really cared about power of words and the power of the imagination to
10:47 am
shape our distance. this is edgar allen poe boyhood bed. this was a future poet used to dream dreams. it's been passed down from his foster father to his business partner down to the family until he came to the poe museum. pieces of furniture in our collection had those kinds of stories. that chain of ownership, the providence that leads them here so we can verify what they are. we also chairs from his boyhood home including this piece with original upholstery still on. this is the upholstery that would've been there in his day. we also have artwork, including this painting of the holy family from the allen mansion. and life portraits of john and francis allen. there's only one other known portrait of john and only one of the portrait of francis that also been lost but with the only place that has portraits of both
10:48 am
his foster parents together. that's quite appropriate because richmond is where they lived. they lived in homes all over the neighborhood. this is the street poe would've walked up and down this street and seeing this house on multiple occasions. but better get we have the bed. this is where he would have slept. his foster father was a wealthy tobacco expert who died in 1834. he was worth about three quarters of a million dollars, and had huge mansion in downtown richmond, a plantation, had property and rockbridge county. and he could afford the finest things in life and he had an extensive library. that was a great advantage for poe. he was able to read from the allen library, but alan never
10:49 am
quite warmed up to. it was the foster moms idea to taken edgar. francis was from the richmond society. society. she had been orphaned herself as a child so she could sympathize when she heard that poe's mother was dying and needed help to care for her and her children francis jumped on the chance to taken little edgar. she couldn't have any children she wants him to take care of she lavished attention to a virtually john allen could actually. he already had chilled with other women. he was giving them close, try to keep them secret from his wife, didn't want to take it somewhere else. he mentio mentioned to churchils will do what ever been seen before. edgar was never included in the will. in his letters allen refers to poe as that devil actresses son. doesn't show a spark of gratitude. there's just that one good thing about that boy.
10:50 am
poe seems to develop an interest in storytelling very early on. one of his friends john hamilton mckinsey, apparently fell out of a tree and broke his arm. and then before the arm had a chance to heal he was jumping on his bed and thought the bed and broke his arm again. his mother told him, well, don't go outside, stay home. just entertain this little kid edgar. so the entertain each other by telling stories. john hamilton mckinsey recalls telling edgar the standard stores, robinson crusoe. poe would tell the stories. he would embellish them and he kept adding and adding to the stories and creating new stories they hadn't heard before. eventually poe got an interest in poetry, and by the age of 13 he compiled enough of his poetry that he wanted his foster father jove and get it published. the foster father showed it to his headmaster and he said he's
10:51 am
a little too proud of himself onward. the last thing you want to do is fueled his ego by publishing parts of his poetry. but by the time he was 18 he actually published his first book. i thought of what's in that book was written while he was in richmond, 10 university of virginia in charles hill. early on poe probably thought that he would be like most writers of the day, and live off of family money or a teaching job or a government job in the customs house. but he became the first american writer, major american writer to make his living sold off his writings are i don't think it was entirely by choice. he would have loved to have inherited john allen's fortune that john allen didn't leave it to them. after poe had been expelled from west point, allen wouldn't take it back. allen wouldn't help his wild dream of becoming a port. so post are submitting short
10:52 am
stories to magazines and entering literary contest and then he got himself a job at a magazine, the southern literary messenger. before you know it he was a magazine is. he was editing different magazines in richmond and philadelphia and new york. he had his struggles. as a messenger has solid was about $500 figure which is equivalent to about 17,000. when he got to philadelphia worked at grams magazine. in a years time as editor he brought that from a circulation of 6000 to about 40,000. it was the most popular journal in the country the first magazine america was -- with a truly mass audience and he was making a salary of $800 a year while the owner was getting $25,000 a year. so the owner was getting fabulously wealthy off on poe's works. poe had a dream of starting his own magazine doing things his way but it never quite worked
10:53 am
out for him. there were times, the last few years at a stretch, where he was living hand to mouth. he might make $5 off of this poem, $10 off of this story. the tale tell heart brought in $10, the raven 15. longer stories would get more money. the murders in the morgue brought about 50. he entered the gold bug in short story contest and won 100. but it's been as made from a time he was 18 and publishes first book until the time he was 40, he made a little over $6000. so he wasn't fabulously wealthy that he was famous. as soon as this works got printed in one magazine other magazines reprinted it. but ineffectual copyright laws, nobody hesitated to reprint poe's stories but even in europe they were reprinting his stories
10:54 am
left and right making him a household name in france while he was still struggling to feed his family here in the united states. but even during poe's lifetime he was a celebrity. he made into the newspapers and magazines of the time. people report on every little thing he did. he was a public figure. one of the events today from poe's life that seem scandals to us but not quite scandals at the time was poe's marriage. when he married virginia, he was 27, she was 13. 13. he was over twice her age. he was also her cousin but the backing was fairly common for cousins to marry one another. but the age difference was pretty unusual. but in virginia at the time a girl of 12 could get married with her fathers permission. her father was dead though, but her mother who was poe's is
10:55 am
biological fathers sister, she encouraged the match. and when she was finding a home for her daughter just also find a home for herself. because poe took in both of these women and gave them a home. now here's poe's marriage bond. if you look closely she didn't sign the marriage bond. as a woman she didn't get to sign the legal document. it really wasn't up to her but couldn't you decide to go along to married his cousin, but he does say she was a full 21 years of age, that when she doesn't have to get a male guardians consent to marry. because by this time her father and her brother are both dead so she doesn't have somebody to give her permission to get married to edgar. but here's a little portrait of the minister who performed the ceremony, and he recalls that poe's wife did look a little younger than 21. but there seems to been genuine affection between edgar and
10:56 am
virginia, even though poe had out with depression to virginia seems a very cheerful and could lift him up. she provide him the support he needed. they say that at night about how poor he was he made sure she had a piano to play, and he would play the flute. they would hold concerts together. so it seems like a fairly happy home life while you're writing stories about chopping your wife and little pieces. this section of exhibit addresses rumors of poe's arco and drug use, and even read his time that made the news. the journal right here is that john doctor edited by one of poe's bitter enemies thomas dunn english. there's an article in your where english says he seen poe passed out in the middle of broadway. and english loved to ridicule
10:57 am
poe and portrayed as a drunkard. and one of his novels he portrays poe as marmaduke hammerhead, the drunken author of the black crow. he also portrayed as doom of the drinker. ring his life and is developing a reputation as a heavy drinker, but people who said he actually went without touching alcohol, would even have -- without a single class of wine, he was staggering drunk. he would be sick for days afterwards. we don't know what kind of intolerance he had alcohol. maybe an enzyme defect, may be diabetic, we just don't know but poe seem to drink a lot less than people nowadays think he did. but after his death his first biography was written by a fellow named rufus w griswold who could not stand edgar allan poe. during the lifetime, griswold was horribly offended, he was
10:58 am
simmering just waiting for poe to die and once he died he said the word of poe's death had startled you anti-portrayed poe as a drunkard, evil, despicable person picked in his biography he has episode after episode portraying poe as a hopeless drunk. but poe's friends and his family came to his defense and said no, this isn't true. this isn't the poe we know. and even thomas english, his own enemy the said the rumors of his opium use are just baseless slander. over here we have a letter written by one of poe's good friends, and he recounts a very strange episode in poe's life. and the last summer of 1849, poe is passing through philadelphia and showed up at his house terrified that people try to kill him. he said he heard people
10:59 am
conspiring against him and he wanted to cut off his mustache so nobody would recognize him. then later, poe said it was all just hallucination. it wasn't real, nevermind. certainly wrote about this account, and someone at this point has written asking was he just drunk? was he on drugs? this is his response, that he didn't appear to be drinking. he didn't appear to have been on drugs. he was calm and measured and all he said was why exactly was poe listed on? maybe there were people attribute we just don't know. even though the evidence seems to support an idea that poe didn't drink quite as much as i think he did, and that he really didn't find inspiration for writing using opium, that's the popular reputation that poe has. poe left richmond to go to the big cities of north.
11:00 am
richman at the time his work here at about 15,000 people. new york already had 300,000 people, philadelphia, philadelphia already had 200,000 people. .. well attended lectures here at richmond, one was spellbound and then left the
11:01 am
stage on bound to pause. he gave private readings of the raven across town. at one of the readings, the ladies hosting him said at the end of the poem he got to the parts, get me back into the tempest area half the people ran and hid area and they said little kids recognized him on the street and followed him around going nevermore, he flapped his arms like a big bird. but he finally made himself in the raven, poe and he showed up at mira shelters house. by now she was a wealthy widow. she gone through six years of morning already and was ready to remarry. he showed up one day on announced to her house and her certain servant wouldn't let him in the house. he had announced he was visiting. and he started arguing with the servants until l mira came out and saw him. he looked up and said how my
11:02 am
right, is that you? she said no way, i have to go to church. i don't want to see you. he kept coming back again and again and convinced her they would be married and they renew their engagement after all those decades. they were married in richmond on october 17, as soon as he returned from his trip to philadelphia from which he never returned. when edgar allen poe's last night in richmond, he spent most of the evening with his new fiancc, sheldon but afterward she said he was very sick. he had a fever, a weak pulse and after leaving, he visited the doctor, doctor john carter who lived near 17th broad street and left his walking stick here, doctor carter's house, taking the doctors came with him he said i don't know why poe took the sword chain and what happened. he knew he was going to philadelphia the next night. and this sweater, one of the
11:03 am
last letters he ever wrote, september 18, 1849 and he's writing to a poet in philadelphia whose book he wants to edit. it's only a couple days work, he's going to make $100 which is unusual for poe. he could use this money and it would go a long way toward helping him with his upcoming marriage. but unfortunately, he hopped a steamship from richmond to baltimore which was about a two day trip. he was catching a train in baltimore to philadelphia which would take another few hours. he did here for five days, we don't know his whereabouts. ryan's fourth word poll, it was a polling place and a voting day and poe was found semi conscious, dressed in somebody else's clothes. cheap, ill fitting rack, nothing like you would've worn. people were at a loss to figure out what happened, the even recognizing. one of the theories was that he was a victim of coping,
11:04 am
that was the practice with which folks would find people who just got off the boat, run them and use them as repeat voters, changing the clothes over and over again and having them sign their x online and driving them to another polling place and maybe a leftover dead and that explains the change of clothes. this theory was published as early as 1860 right here by pose friend john r thompson who delivered a lecture about look poe's life, his genius and his death. and he helped popularize the theory that poe was a victim of coping. after his discovery at the polls, he went to washington college hospital for four days and the doctor was john carter who wrote this account of those final days. poe is delirious, in and out of consciousness, talking to shadows on the wall, not making any sense.
11:05 am
he couldn't remember what was the color of his luggage, where his change of clothes? why was he addressing those other clothes? he seemed to lack any memory of it and he started screaming the name riddle over and over again. we've never figuredout who riddles was . and then hope fell down, is last words were more, help my poor soul and he died at the age of 40. the doctor said it was a case of nervous prostration and loss of nerve power. the newspapers said everything from a case of mania or drug reaction to brain fever. or a congestion of the brain. the official specific for the baltimore times said for night is which means inflammation of the brain. the medical term we don't use anymore but the symptoms are similar to meningitis or encephalitis. there is more theories about what could have happened to paul but his doctor was emphatic in saying he didn't
11:06 am
appear to have been drinking. he didn't appear to have been suffering from delirium tremens. that makes you question, what exactly did kill paul? this is edgar allen poe's trunk. at the time of his death it held most of his worldly possessions. but he left it in richmond. he was traveling to baltimore, it was said that he and his trunk was found in his pocket after his death. we know before you left richmond he been saying the american hotel on main street. but this trunk is found in the tavern, still holding some of poe's possession. and people wondered for years why did he have this trunk here? he thought it was kindof a large piece so maybe he had a smaller piece to carry him to baltimore. maybe he had two trunks . but his sister eventually acquired this, not in a big legal matter over who got to have his trunk, poe's mother-in-law was actually his aunt and his sister who was his closest relative over
11:07 am
pose literally literary estate and finally the one wok shouldn't have the right to poe's work signed over the rights to pose literary executive, rufus griswold. but the two women battled over the trunk and his possessions that were contained within it. and it was only recently discovered in one of poe's letters that had been up in a private collection in italy that the reason poe left his trunk at the tavern was that he had paid his hotel bill and that they wouldn't give him back his luggage until he paid the remainder of the money so that does explain why this trunk was still here and why his sister eventually got a hold of it. after her death, she passed it down to her foster knees who solves the museum in 1923 for $35 and now it's one of the prizes of our collection. this area addresses another one of the scandals about poe. who is buried under poe's
11:08 am
monument? for years people have questioned did edgar allan poe get buried in the monuments? or did they put the wrong person down there. and confusion stems from the fact that poe was buried in an unmarked grave. it was 26 years after his death that a teacher and her students started the teenage for poe campaign to raise money to get her the nicest monument in the entire cemetery which is pictured here. they thought it would be appropriate if instead of having him way back in the poe family block that he worked right next to the sidewalk where everybody could see him in a place of honor. he was the most famous resident of the cemetery so he's the one that people should want to see. and next to the cemetery, moved him across the cemetery, his coffin in the ground for 26 years already. but as you can imagine, that
11:09 am
fell apart in the newspapers the next day reported seeing him, they said most of his skin had dried up and was gone except for a little dried up skin on the arm. his mandible had fallen off. he had teeth around the school, they complemented his teeth, apparently he had good dental hygiene. they scoop the pieces and put them in the new spot and some people said well, the sextant moved the wrong body. this wasn't where we remembered poe being. and that caused a lot of the confusion over the years. and then to make matters worse, a polk letter named or in fletcher pate placed this monument on the site of poe's original grave but he got the location wrong and originally placed it over the wrong spot that wasn't pose grave. and finally the sextant had to clear up all the confusion . what had really happened was he had already moved the body once in anticipation of getting the new monument so
11:10 am
he knew exactly where poe's body was before he moved it. he knew which body was moving so no need for, poe was buried under his monument and his brother-in-law is also with him. and his wife, they moved her down from the bronx. his wife died two years before he did. and by the time it was decided to build poe's monument, they already built over her cemetery in moodle all the bodies. but pose biggest fan ever named william gill personally went to the cemetery and rescued virginia pose bones. he kept them in a box under his bed and he invite people to come touch the bones of annabel lee. he said maybe that's a bad idea and now they are buried next to her husband. that's why the poe toaster who shows up at pose grave leaves three roses because there's three people under the monument. and edgar allan poe is one of
11:11 am
them. this museum is the only literary museum in richmond and one of only a few in the country. but it helps preserve our literary heritage. it reminds us that a big part of what makes us who we are is our culture, not just the visual arts but also the literary arts. part of the history of our collective imagination. there's people who come to the museum who never heard of patrick henry or thomas jefferson, but they know edgar allen poe who truly is an international literary figure. we can really say he belongs somewhat to baltimore or richmond or new york. he belongs to the world. he's everybody's writer and that's a great thing about this museum, it's a place that brings together everybody.
11:12 am
>> this memorial in downtown richmond pays tribute to the virginia statute for religious freedom. and acted by the state general assembly on january 16, 1786 and then my thomas jefferson. it addresses the principle of separation of church andstate . the three paragraph statute, the basis for our first amendment protections for religious freedom. next we learn about another founding father in the financial scandal that landed him in prison. >> robert morris was an important american founder but it's true that not very many people knew about him. he was the financier of the american revolution, so call because he served toward the end of the american revolution. he helped put that early government on a sound financial footing.everybody was in big trouble at the end of the war so he was a moneyman. he's also not well-known because of what happened to him at the end of the flood. he messed up pretty bad. he was one of the rich


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on