The Edgar Allan Poe Collection of Susan Jaffe Tane

Horror & Suspense

Poe stamp

Poe’s mastery of the Gothic terror and mystery tale, and his formative influence on detective and horror fiction, are among his most enduring and celebrated legacies. His ground-breaking achievements in these literary genres have inspired writers and artists for well over a century. Those who have cited Poe’s influence on their work include the writers H. P. Lovecraft, H. G. Wells and Ray Bradbury, and film director Alfred Hitchcock. The nightmarish quality of many of Poe’s short stories, with their focus on death, decay and madness, continues to attract audiences today. In honor of Poe’s contributions, the Mystery Writers of America have even named their annual awards for best work in the mystery genre the “Edgars.”

The Tane collection contains the first printings of Poe’s tales of horror and suspense, including “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” and “The Tell-Tale Heart.”

Edgar Allan Poe. “The Murders in the Rue Morgue.” Philadelphia: George Barrie, 1895.

A facsimile of the manuscript of Poe’s most famous story was published in 1895. The original is held by the Drexel Institute Library, Philadelphia.

Edgar Allan Poe. “The Murders in the Rue Morgue.” In Graham’s Magazine. Volume 18, April 1841.

Widely credited with launching the detective story genre, Poe’s famous tale “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” was first published in the April 1841 issue of Graham’s Magazine. In both plot structure and characterization, the tale became an inspiration for Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories (first published in 1887). Like Poe’s Auguste Dupin, Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes is a remarkably astute amateur sleuth who shares quarters with an admiring first-person narrator and employs his mental skills to solve crimes that baffle professional police.

Edgar Allan Poe. The Prose Romances. Philadelphia: William H. Graham, 1843.

This 1843 pamphlet contains the first separate printing of “The Murders in the Rue Morgue.” Poe planned this pamphlet to be the first in a series of inexpensive publications of his tales. No subsequent numbers were published, however, likely because of poor sales. It is unknown how many copies were printed, but most may have been destroyed in 1845 by a fire in the office of the book’s editor, William Graham. Just fourteen copies are known to survive today, only five with title pages.

Edgar Allan Poe. “The Tell-Tale Heart.” In The Pioneer. Number 1. Philadelphia: Drew & Scammell; Boston: Leland & Whiting, January 1843.
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Poe’s suspense-filled tale of horror, “The Tell-Tale Heart,” first appeared in The Pioneer, the short-lived literary journal launched by James Russell Lowell. Poe had first sent the manuscript to the Boston Miscellany, which rejected the piece with the advice that “if Mr. Poe would condescend to furnish more quiet articles, he would be a most desirable correspondent.”

Edgar Allan Poe. First Day Cover No. 1, 1949.

This postal tribute, depicting the Poe cottage in New York City, was signed by Stephen King and dated October 24, 1980.

Edgar Statuette. 1946.

The Mystery Writers of America have named their awards for excellence in the genre the “Edgars.” Founded in 1945, the “Edgar” awards honor the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction, television, film and theatre published or produced the previous year. A small bust of Edgar Allan Poe serves as the award statuette.

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