“Superstitious terror crept by degrees into the spirit of the old Swede, and my own soul was wrapped up in silent wonder” — Edgar Allan Poe

Excerpts from our July session of the Virginia Poe Bicentennial Discussion Series. The strange after-lives of Edgar & Virginia Poe, plus rites and traditional feminine in 19th century America. If you enjoy this presentation, look for more sessions in this year’s poetical series from Poe Baltimore.

Overview: Enrica Jang, Director of The Edgar Allan Poe House & Museum in Baltimore, provides an overview of the strange afterlives of Virginia Clemm to her cousin, Edgar Allan Poe.

Act I: Fascinating Women Buried in Baltimore

Kathy Santora and Kalin Thomas look at the lives of women buried in Westminster Burying Ground as well as in Green Mount, Loudon Park, Mt. Auburn, and New Cathedral cemeteries, and how these individuals shaped the city today.

Act II: The Art of Mourning

Hayden Peters of ArtOfMourning.com discusses mourning customs in Virginia Poe’s day. The cost of fashionable mourning was almost as high as the loss of a loved one and the requirements of mourning costume and jewels led families into debt. Learn how these customs became part of 19th century family behavior and how influential women led to its decline.

Act III: Mourning, A Perpetual State

The potential for mourning is endless, perhaps because, being human, we know our time is finite. Virginia Crawford shares how mourning spurs her to write, with poetry from her book, “Questions for Water,” and “The Conqueror Worm” by Edgar Allan Poe.

This is the seventh and final pre-recorded discussion in this series for the Virginia Poe Bicentennial. 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.)

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.

Act III

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.