Monday, January 18, 2010

Edgar Allan Poe's Body To Remain in Baltimore

by Chris Kaltenbach

Edgar Allan Poe should rest in peace, and right here in Baltimore.

Saturday in Richmond, Va., a representative of the Poe family came down foursquare against the idea that their famous ancestor's body should be moved anywhere, but still didn't decide which American city can best lay a dominant claim to the author.

The announcement, made at Richmond's Poe Museum during a 24-hour commemoration of the celebrated author's 201st birthday, is the latest declaration in a years-long mostly good-natured debate over where Poe should rest and which city most deserves his legacy.

Noting that distant cousin Edgar already has been subjected to four funerals, most recently two organized by Baltimore's Poe House and Museum back in October, Harry Lee Poe said enough was enough. After all, he noted, none of the author's living descendants have been buried even once.

"In the spirit of fairness, the family simply cannot agree to move the body just yet," Harry Lee Poe, whose great-grandfather was Edgar Allan Poe's cousin, told an audience of about 80 in Richmond Saturday. "Not until the rest of us have had our turn."

Harry Lee Poe, however, took no position on which American city has the most legitimate claim to Poe's legacy - a question that was at the heart of a pair of debates last year between representatives of Boston, where Edgar Allan Poe was born; Philadelphia, where he wrote many of his most famous stories; and Baltimore, where he died and was buried. Representatives from Richmond, where he grew up, did not participate in either debate.

"They really didn't take a stand," said Jeff Jerome, curator of the Poe House in Baltimore. "If they want to shy away from a dialogue about this, that's certainly their prerogative." Still, Jerome added, "I'm pleased that they came to the conclusion they did about the body. Poe died in Baltimore, and he should stay here."

Rest of the story on Poe:

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