Something About Helen

Sarah Helen Whitman This is a heads-up for an event one week away. The Providence Athenaeum will be holding a fundraiser to commemorate the bicentennial of the birth of Edgar Allen Poe. (Actual birth date was January 19, same as hers.) The evening will include

… dramatic readings from Poe and his amours; an exhibit of rare Poe printed matter on loan from collector Susan Jaffe Tane; haunting music by Alec K. Redfearn; food for the soul; and the means by which you can drink to forget. Dress code: Raven-hued. Tickets are $75. To purchase click here or call 421-6970.

Poe is thought to have courted Sarah Helen Whitman in the stacks of the Athenaeum, an engagement that failed for reasons not too hard to imagine, although it is much debated.  Let’s face it, the guy had problems.  But she may have been kind of a loon as well.  And there seems to have been a lot of input from friends and family. In modern parlance. . . it’s complicated.  At any rate, her Wiki entry has it that she died at the home of a friend at 97 Bowen Street (is that house still there?) and is buried at the North Burial Ground. (To Helen, Poe 1848)

4 thoughts on “Something About Helen”

  1. I love old pictures, thanks. But I can’t help but think there is a problem with one of the dates. In the top picture the house on the left is covered with tarpaper shingles and the Whitman house is looking pretty ratty. Then, twelve days later they have both been completely restored and painted. The house to the north changes from red to green as well. I wonder if those later pictures are from 1964, not 1954.

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