“Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary...” — Edgar Allan Poe

The Virginia Poe Bicentennial & Gothic Tea Party Program was recorded at Westminster Hall & Burying Ground, August 13th, 2022.

The hidden her-stories of the women in the Poe family, including a Revolutionary War patriot, and how a mother’s love changed literary history.

Act I

The Life of Elizabeth Cairnes Poe, Matron & Patriot

J. Scott Watkins appears as David Poe Sr., Revolutionary War hero and patriot at the battle of North Point in the War of 1812, to talk about the family’s contribution to the founding of the United States, and the forgotten war service of his wife, Elizabeth.

Act II

Poetry reading: “To My Mother”

Storyteller and writer, Kalin Thomas, will read Edgar Alln Poe’s poetical tribute to the woman who became his surrogate mother in his later years.

Baltimore Mothers: Real and True Women

Antebellum women were expected to be pious, pure, submissive, and domestic. This ideal was not one that all women were able to achieve. Join Dr. Amy Rosenkrans for a talk on motherhood in Baltimore across race, religious, and social classes.


Viewing of items pertaining to Virginia Poe from the Special Collections Department at Enoch Pratt Free Library. Eben Dennis will talk about the Poe Collection’s array of manuscripts, photographs, and rare books.

This is the fifth in a series of monthly programs for the Virginia Poe Bicentennial; follow us on social media to be alerted when events are happening! The Virginia Poe Bicentennial is presented by Poe Baltimore, Westminster Hall & Burying Ground, Maryland Women’s Heritage Center, the Poe Cottage at Fordham (Bronx, NYC,) with generous help and participation from Poe Studies Association, The Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore and The Poe Museum (Richmond.)

Grave-side chat with J. Scott Watkins, Living History Performer and descendent of the Westminster sextons who buried Edgar and Virginia Poe–several times! We talk about the Poe family’s Revolutionary War history, then share what to expect for “MOTHER: Hidden Her-stories of the Women in the Poe Family” our May session of the Virginia Poe Bicentennial Discussion Series.

Poe Baltimore’s mission is to celebrate Edgar Allan Poe’s legacy, a man at times unfairly maligned, at other times fairly taken to task for his faults. As good stewards of history, we must be uncompromising about the truth: about Poe, about ourselves, and about our American story.

203 N. Amity Street was established as a house museum and shrine to Edgar Allan Poe in 1949. We are an active and important cultural highlight in the Poppleton neighborhood of West Baltimore. And while we are a federally designated National Historic Landmark, the raw physical truth remains that Poe House is a small 620 square-foot remnant of a house that was built in the 1800s. The museum could not have survived for nearly 75 years without the care and regard for history that the members of this predominantly Black community have shown. Neighbors see wandering tourists and lead them to our door. Children playing with their friends outdoors helpfully point people our way. Black and minority individuals are the majority corps of Urban Rangers who lead tours at Poe House.

As an organization, Poe Baltimore supports our neighbors and fellow citizens as they support the museum in our care. We owe nothing less than an unequivocal statement against racism in any form, and specifically racism against Black people. Black Lives Matter. There is no place for racism or hate in any community. We stand with Poppleton in the beautiful City of Baltimore and commit to work together to turn the page on a new chapter for our city and country.


The Poe Baltimore Board of Directors and Staff