The Poe Museum, located in Richmond, Virginia, interprets the life and influence of Edgar Allan Poe for the education and enjoyment of a global audience.
This statue of Poe was placed on the Capitol grounds near one of his boyhood homes and the house in which he was married (both now demolished). The sculptor Charles Rudy produced the bronze statue for Dr. Barksdale of Pennsylvania who donated it to the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1956. It took two years for the General Assembly to decide where—or if—the sculpture should be displayed. While the other statues on Capitol Square were placed near the Capitol at the top of the hill, the Poe sculpture sits alone at the top of the hill near the corner of Ninth and East Grace Streets.
The Capitol Square served as a backdrop for some of the most important events of his life. As a boy, Poe represented his academy in a foot race around the Capitol. At the age of 14, Poe visited the Capitol to see a mummy, which was then on exhibit in the old Senate chamber. The same year, Poe became infatuated with Jane Stanard, who lived in a mansion directly across Ninth Street from the square. He dedicated his first poem, "To Helen," to her.
When he was 15, Poe reconstructed and guarded George Washington’s battle tent next to the building in honor of the Marquis de Lafayette’s 1824 visit to the city.
Considering the amount of time that Poe lived in Richmond, some might think he was born there. Actually, he was born in Boston to actress and actor Elizabeth and David Poe, Jr. on January 19, 1809. His father left the family when Poe was 1, and his mother died before he was 3 years old. Before her death, she was working as an actress in Richmond, and her longtime friends the Allans took in Poe and raised him, although they never officially adopted him.
Edgar Allan Poe spent much of his adult life in love with Elmira Royster Shelton. Although he was engaged to her twice, they never married due to the disapproval of her family. In 1836, at the age of 27, he married his 13-year-old cousin, Virginia Clem, in a house that once stood close to the site of the statue.
Cover photo credit: Travis via Flickr