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1849 American author Edgar Allan Poe is found delirious in a gutter in Baltimore

October 3, 2021

1849 American author Edgar Allan Poe is found delirious in a gutter in Baltimore

One of America’s great authors, Poe, was found by Joseph W. Walker at Ryan’s Fourth Ward Polls in ‘great distress, and in need of immediate assistance” on October 3, 1849. A letter Poe wrote to a poet called Mrs. St. Leon suggests that he was going to Philadelphia to edit her poetry book.

Poe was incoherent and could not explain how he came to wear clothes that were not his. He could also not explain how he came to the condition he was in. He called for his acquaintance and editor Joseph Snodgrass, who failed to convince his relatives to care for the ailing poet.

Seeing this, Snodgrass took him to the Washington Medical College. Poe could not explain to his physician, John Moran, he had left his belongings. Later, his cousin found one of his trunks in Baltimore, while the other one was found in Richmond.

Poe died in hospital on October 7, 1849. The cause of his death remains a mystery. One theory suggests that he died of cooping, a type of electoral fraud in which voters were forced to vote in a particular candidate after being drugged. However, newspapers also reported that Poe’s death might have been caused by ‘cerebral inflammation’ or alcoholism.

Following his death, his fellow literary critic and enemy Rufus Wilmot Griswold wrote an obituary that portrayed Poe as a drunken, mad, and womanizing opium addict. He went on to publish Poe’s first biography, “Memoir of the Author,” a scandalous piece that depicted the author as a depraved and drug-addicted mad man. The biography haunts Poe’s reputation to this day.


  1. Jim Hall

    Why do you never answer the question posed as your catchline?

  2. Bob Beale

    I truly enjoy the articles and I always look forward to seeing them in my email. I find all the short stories interesting. Keep up the work guys.

  3. Tom

    He was in B-A-L-T-I-M-O-R-E. This is standard behavior there. They just passed a law stating that it is non-criminal to urinate or defecate in their streets. What do you expect?

    • Johnnie Sammons

      Bull Shoah Tom I am from here and live here just try to do either here and get out of central booking in a day or two lol

    • Steve Bastian

      Got to keep the Chesapeake Bay clean!


    Baltimore is a mess. The mayor, his entire cabinet and the entire City Council should be replaced.

  5. Bob

    Yep. Same thing is happening in most Democrat controlled cities.

  6. Len nebs

    City not state.

  7. Fabulous V

    The launch of the Sputnik 1957 US Department of State Archive

  8. Ron Reuben

    Who conceived that law? And for what reason?

  9. Steve Bastian

    The Johnny Depp of his day,
    I’ve known who Edgar Allen Poe is and have appreciated his works since grade school, I have no idea who Rufus Wilmot Griswold was nor would I care if I did.


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