Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site
Writer and poet Edgar Allan Poe lived in Philadelphia between 1838 and 1844, residing in this house during his last 18 months here. Poe wrote several of his most famous works while in Philadelphia, including The Fall of the House of Usher and The Tell-Tale Heart. After Poe's death in 1849, an unscrupulous biography by a literary colleague-turned-rival named Rufus Griswold created Poe's posthumous reputation as a drunkard, opium addict, and all-around degenerate. While this dark image seemed to suit the creator of such chilling stories and also affirmed Northern Liberties' 19th-century reputation as a refuge for outcasts and scoundrels, Griswold's claims were unfounded and motivated by a personal grudge. The Poe House is a National Historic site, open to the public, and dedicated to interpreting Poe's life and work in Philadelphia.
Poe died and is buried in Baltimore, a city that also claims Poe's legacy. In 2007, a playful rivalry erupted between Philadelphia and Baltimore when Philadelphia-based Poe scholar Edward Pettit wrote a tongue-in-cheek newspaper article declaring that Philadelphia intended to steal Poe's body from its Baltimore resting place and re-inter the writer in the soil of his rightful home, Philadelphia. Baltimore, of course, fired back and the good-natured debate continues between the two cities. Poe scholars and fans from all over hope that the rivalry will draw attention and publicity to Poe, his works, and his multiple hometowns in time for his centennial in 2009.
- National Parks Service, Department of the Interior. "Edgar Allan Poe." Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site. Available at: http://www.nps.gov/edal/
- National Parks Service, Department of the Interior. "The Defamation of Poe's Character." For Teachers: Curriculum Materials. Available at: http://www.nps.gov/edal/forteachers/curriculummaterials.htm and at: http://www.nps.gov/edal/forteachers/upload/defamation.pdf
- Urbina, Ian. "Baltimore Has Poe; Philadelphia Wants Him." The New York Times, September 5, 2008. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/06/us/06poe.html