Showing posts with label Edgar Allan Poe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Edgar Allan Poe. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Raising Money To Keep Poe's Baltimore Home OPEN

A quartet of Washington-area bands is planning an Oct. 7 concert to benefit Baltimore's beleaguered Poe House.

The concert, set for the 162nd anniversary of Edgar Allan Poe's death, will feature the bands Lenorable, Nunchucks, Dance for the Dying and Lions & Tigers & Whales. It is being by organized by Washington-area fans of the famed poet and master of suspense.

"When I heard about the funding problems at the Poe House, I immediately went into action mode," said Kai Hsieh, one of the concert's organizers, who describes herself as a frequent visitor to the house. On a recent drive through Baltimore, she and a friend noted the many Poe influences scattered around the city — including the NFL football team named for one of his poems — "and we certainly don't want the Poe House closed down, especially with all Poe has influenced," Hsieh said.

The Poe House and Museum, in which Poe lived for several years with his aunt and in which he met his young cousin and future wife, Virginia, has had its city funding cut and could close next year if an alternate source of money is not found. Baltimore City recently approved a study to look at ways of turning the house into a self-sustaining museum and cultural institution.

Poe died in 1849 after being found wandering the streets of Baltimore, disheveled and wearing someone else's clothes.

The concert takes place at Washington's Velvet Lounge, 915 U St. NW. Tickets are $8, with the music set to begin at 9:30 p.m. Information:


Monday, February 7, 2011

Poe Museum May Have To Operate Without Public Funds

The long-time curator of Baltimore's Edgar Allan Poe House says the museum could be forced to close if city officials stick to their insistence that it be well on the road to self-sufficiency by July of next year.

Baltimore officials — who last summer cut the Poe House's funding — have ordered the city's Committee for Historic & Architectural Preservation (CHAP) to settle on a plan to operate the museum without using public funds. The plan must be in place by July 2012.

"That's a big order," says Jeff Jerome, who has been curator since 1979. "I've been talking to other museums, and each and every one of them — first of all, when they stop laughing, they say, 'Jeff, you should have been doing this three years ago.' You just can't do this in a year."

The museum, in a North Amity Street home where Poe lived from late 1832 or early 1833 until 1835, operates on an annual budget of $85,000.

"We were in the middle of the worst budget crisis the city had faced in decades," city planning director Thomas J. Stosur said of last year's decision to cut funding. "When the sausage got made, certain things got funded and certain things did not."

Although funding for it was deleted from the current fiscal year's budget, the museum has remained open thanks to private contributions and money raised through such events as last year's 200th anniversary celebration of Poe's birth.

CHAP and the city hope to have an individual or group in place by spring to oversee the transition. "We want to have a fresh set of eyes, look at what our asset is today and at what the market might be," Stosur said. "One idea is to spin it off into its own non-profit, and perhaps put it under the umbrella of another museum or educational institution."

Poe, a Boston native who would die in Baltimore in 1849 under circumstances never fully explained, was 23 when he moved into the house, which dated to around 1830. His aunt, Maria Clemm, was the head of the household, which besides Poe included her mother, Elizabeth Cairnes Poe, and daughter, 10-year-old Virginia Eliza Clemm. Poe left the home in 1835 for Richmond, where he edited the Southern Literary Messenger.

Most of Poe's reputation as a master of American mystery and suspense was built on writings penned while living in Richmond, Philadelphia and New York. But he is believed to have authored several stories and poems while living in Baltimore, including "The Visionary," "Morella" and "To Elizabath."

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Poe's Birthday "Toaster" Is a No-Show

Edgar Allan Poe
Born January 19, 1809 Died October 7, 1849

On the birthday each year of Edgar Allan Poe and mysterious figure appears at the graveof the famouse writer leaving a bottle of cognac and 3 roses. It is thought that one rose is for Poe's wife, another for his mother-in-law Maria Clemm and the third for Poe himself Between the hours of midnight and 5:30 a.,m. the Poe Toaster (unoficially named) walks into the Westminster Burying Grounds in Baltimore, Maryland at the corner of Fayette and Greene Streets and leaves the gifts for Poe. After a short and touching ceremony of kneeling and placing his hands on the stone the toaster leaves. The persons identity has never been known and the tradition has been kept since Poe's 100th birthday in 1949.

However, this morning the Poe Toaster did NOT visit the burial site of Poe! For the FIRST time since 1949 no one crept into the cemetary leaving the traditional cognac and roses. Last night 30 to 50 people stood outside the gate singing Happy Birthday to Poe several times during the night while awaiting the mysterious visiter.

At 5:30 this morning the curator the Edgar Allan Poe House, Jeff Jerome, broke the news to the crowd that had been standing vigil outside the locked gate through the night. The Poe Toaster had not had not shown. Jerome did make the statement that he plans to keep the vigil through 2012.

"After two years if he doesn't show up, I think we can safely assume the tribute has ended," Jerome said.