From Foster to Famous: Edgar Allan Poe

It might not come as a surprise to literary fans that Edgar Allan Poe’s (1809 – 1849) childhood was a troubled one.

Later known for his dark, twisted writings, young Poe never had the opportunity to know his biological parents, Elizabeth Arnold Poe, a British actress, and David Poe, Jr., an actor who was born in Baltimore.

His father left the family early in Poe’s life, and his mother passed away from tuberculosis when he was only three. Separated from his siblings, Poe was fostered by John and Frances Valentine Allan, a successful tobacco merchant and his wife, in Richmond, Virginia.

The family moved often – from Virginia to England and back again – but always put Poe’s education first. Though John never approved of a literary career, Poe took his foster family’s surname in tribute to their generosity

He would later go on to write “The Raven,” “The Tell-Tale Heart,” and several volumes of poetry.

Sources:, History Channel


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