The Who2 Blog

Edgar Allan Poe’s Wife

The Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia currently has an exhibit that includes a rare photo of his young wife, Virginia. At least they think it’s her.

“A Poe Mystery Solved” explains that no photo of Virginia Clemm Poe has been found until now. What makes that unusual is the Poe family’s memory of seeing daguerreotypes of her. Edgar Allan Poe married Virginia Clemm when she was just 13 years old. He was 27. They were cousins.

There is a “widely accepted” portrait of her from the 1880s, and she looks like this:

Photo from the Poe Museum

A Boston daguerreotype with two unnamed women, examined by a Poe scholar, is said to include a shot of Virginia from 1845, when she was about 23 years old. She died of tuberculosis when she was 24. A comparison with the portrait of Virginia, along with other evidence sounds pretty convincing.

Here are the two images, side by side:

One of the pieces of evidence includes a description of her that includes the phrase “a bad complexion that spoiled her looks.” If you happen to be near Richmond, Virginia, you can stop and see the exhibit and judge for yourself.

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