The Museum Collection
Frances S. Osgood Letter to John Keese
Description:Frances Osgood (1811-1850) was a poetess and close friend of Poe and his wife. Poe and Osgood addressed love poems to each other in the Broadway Journal and other magazines in 1845, but their relationship ended after the 1846 scandal involving Elizabeth Ellet, who spread rumors she had seen an "indiscreet" letter from Osgood to Poe lying open on a table in his house. It was soon discovered that Ellet herself had been sending Poe letters and poems. In spite of the damage the scandal had done to her reputation, Osgood remained an admirer and defender of Poe's work and character.
Osgood's letter is address to John Keese, editor of The Opal, A Pure Gift for the Holidays, an annual gift book founded by Rufus Griswold in 1843. Poe contributed the essay "Morning on the Wissahiccon" to the 1844 issue.
This manuscript was once in the autograph album of Lucy Dorothea Henry Laighton, granddaughter of Patrick Henry, the orator best known for his 1775 "Liberty or Death" speech . Among the pieces in the book are a number by Edgar Allan Poe, including an essay he wrote about Frances Osgood. Laighton's daughters gave the album, which also included other Poe manuscripts in addition to the autographs and letters of over 250 other celebrities, to the Poe Museum in 1928.
The text of this brief note reads:
Dear Mr. Keese,
I send you with pleasure a little poem for The Opal -- Please give me what you think it worth and believe me,
Frances S Osgood.
If the verses are not religious enough and if there is still time -- I can send you some others. Please direct to Albany -- to the care of Revd H.F. Harrington -- 33. Swan St. I shall be here until next Saturday or Monday. And after that any letters directed to the care of Bartlett + Welford -- Astor House -- will reach me
Albany -- April 28th 1845