The Museum Collection

Opium Jug from Poe's Sister's Foster Family

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Creator: Chinese
Format: Porcelin
Source: Museum Purchase from Edward Byrd Armistead
Collection: Poe Foundation, Inc.
Place of Publication:
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This Chinese opium jug was used by the Mackenzies, the Richmond family that fostered Poe's sister, Rosalie Mackenzie Poe, after her mother's death in 1811. Rosalie Poe lived with her foster mother, Mrs. Jane Scott Mackenzie, until the latter's death in 1865 and was a frequent guest at the homes of various Mackenzie relatives until her death in 1874. This piece was part of a collection of Mackenzie family items the Poe Museum purchased from Mackenize descendant, Edward Byrd Armistead, in 1998.

In Edgar Allan Poe's day, opium was a readily available painkiller, but, in spite of rumors to the contrary, Poe was not addicted to the drug and did not write under its influence. In the words of Poe's acquaintance, Thomas Dunn English, allegations of Poe?s opium habit are "a baseless slander."