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Monday, October 6, 2014

Boston Unveils Statue of Edgar Allan Poe


Boston honored native son Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) with a life-size statue this week, situated in a small square at the corner of Boylston and Charles Street across from Boston Common. The statue is not far from where Poe was born at 62 Carver Street (now Charles Street) on January 19, 1809.

The effort to build the statue was engineered by Paul Lewis, a Boston College English professor, and "a fine collaboration of several Poe scholars and aficionados," notes Poe authority Rob Valella.  They created the Edgar Allan Poe Foundation of Boston, which raised funds, worked with the City of Boston Arts Commission, and generated interest in the project. 

Poe's family originated in County Cavan, Ireland, and his great-grandfather John Poe and great-grandmother Jane McBride moved with their son David (Edgar's grandfather) to Baltimore around 1742-43, according to genealogist Mark Redfield.  His son, David, Jr, was Edgar's father.

An 1899 Boston Globe story on Poe reported that "The poet's ancestors were of the same Scotch-Irish stock that produced Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay and Zachary Taylor."

Edgar's parents, David and Elisa,were actors at the Old Boston Theatre on Federal Street, and were performing there when Edgar was born in 1809.  Three years later, his father died of consumption and his mother died a month later, and Poe was adopted by the Allan family in Richmond, VA.

Poe returned to Boston as a young man and it was here he had his first book of poems, Tamerlane, published.  He also enlisted in the the U.S. Army in Boston, according to Boston Magazine.

For more information about Boston's history, visit IrishHeritageTrail.com.



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