Edgar Allan Poe
(1809 - 1849)
Born in 1809, the son of two actors in Boston, Edgar Allan Poe entered the University of Virginia in 1826, but gambling debts prompted him to abandon his studies within a year. After inviting his expulsion from West Point, obtaining and then losing the editorship of the Southern Literary Messenger, and marrying his thirteen-year-old cousin, he published “The Fall of the House of Usher” in 1839 and “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” in 1841. “Nothing cheers or comforts me,” he complained in the spring of 1849. “My life seems wasted—the future looks a dreary blank.” That summer, he became “totally deranged” in Philadelphia, convinced someone was trying to kill him. He died on a Sunday morning in October 1849; the cause is believed to have been alcohol poisoning.