The Museum Collection

"The Bells" in Sartain's Union Magazine of Literature and Art

ID #:
Creator: John Sartain
Date: 1849
Format: Bound Journal
Collection: Poe Foundation, Inc.
Publisher: Sartain's Union Magazine of Literature and Art
Place of Publication: Philadelphia
Publish Date: 1849


This is the first printing of Poe's poem "The Bells." Though Poe wrote the poem in 1848, it was not printed until after his October 1849 death. In June, 1849, Poe had visited John Sartain, the owner of Sartain's Union Magazine, in Philadelphia. It is believed Sartain paid Poe $15 for the preliminary, 18-line, version of the poem (which Sartain printed in December 1849) and an additional $30 for the enlarged version (which Sartain printed in the November issue). Shortly after the November issue was printed (in mid-October), other magazines reprinted "The Bells." Among these reprints were The Evening Mirror, The New York Evening Tribune, The New York Weekly Tribune, The National Aegis, The Home Journal, Daily Mercury, Nantucket Inquirer, Literary World, Daily Cincinnati Gazette, Savannah Republican, and the Southern Literary Messenger. This is by no means a complete list of the reprintings by magazines across the United States from October and November 1849.

John Sartain purchased the Union Magazine in 1849 and moved its headquarters from New York to Philadelphia. Sartain was an engraver and provided some of the engravings for the magazine. A letter written by Sartain about Poe is also in the Poe Museum's collection.