The Museum Collection

Father Tabb Letter Objecting to Poe's Exclusion from the Hall of Fame

ID #: 87.34
Creator: Father John Banister Tabb
Date: ca. 1905
Format: Letter
Source: Gift of Mr. Clifford Fleet
Collection: Poe Foundation, Inc.
Place of Publication:
Publish Date:


Father John Banister Tabb (1845-1909) was a popular poet and priest who published eleven collections of poetry and saw a number of his poems printed in the leading magazines of his day, including Harper's Monthly, The Atlantic Monthly, and The Cosmopolitan. This letter to an unknown recipient voices his objection to Poe's exclusion from the recently formed Hall of Fame of Great Americans at the Bronx Community College.

The Hall of Fame was founded in 1900 and admitted its first honorees in 1900 and 1905. After Poe's name failed to receive enough votes for inclusion in 1905, Tabb responded with the poem "Exclusion," which is written at the end of this brief note. According to an article in the January 17, 1909 issue of the New York Times, "There was an audible ring of applause when Father Tabb shortly after the last election, and Poe was not chosen, indignantly claimed that none but the dead should go there. It was no place for the living Poe." Tabb's poem "Exclusion" appears at the head of the same article.

The text of the letter reads "Mr. [illegible]'s refusing to admit Edgar Poe into the so-called "Hall of Fame" suggests to me Excluded. 'Into the charnel Hall of Fame/ The dead alone should go./ Then write not there the living name/ Of Edgar Allan Poe./ John B. Tabb"

The illegible name at the beginning of the letter might be "MacCracken." Dr. Henry Mitchell MacCraken originated the Hall of Fame.

Poe was finally elected to the Hall of Fame in 1910, and a bust of Poe sculpted in 1922 by Daniel Chester French is now displayed there.