The Museum Collection
Book Autographed by Jane Mackenzie
Description:Jane Mackenzie was the sister of Edgar Allan Poe's sister Rosalie Mackenzie Poe's foster father William Mackenzie. She and her sister-in-law Jane Scott Mackenzie operated Miss Mackenzie's School for Girls, which was attended by Rosalie Poe as well as by the daughters of Poe's foster father John Allan's business partner Charles Ellis. As a boy, Poe addressed poetry to girls in Miss Mackenzie's school and sometimes used Rosalie Poe to carry letters to them. Among the students attending this fashionable boarding school was Catherine Elizabeth Poitiaux, a playmate of the young Poe's and the godchild of Poe's foster mother Frances Keeling Valentine Allan.
As an adult, Rosalie Poe taught Penmanship at the Mackenzie School for Girls, and she lived with the Mackenzie family for almost all her life.
Jane Mackenzie gave this book, The Death of Abel by Soloman Gressner (Hartford: Andrus and Judd. 1832), to friend in 1834. The inscription reads: "To Lillian/ From/ Her Sincere Friend/ Jane Mackenzie/ 1 Aug 1834/ Richmond." A second inscription, written in pencil on the title page reads: "Presented to [illegible] the 4th August 1834." The recipient was probably a member of the Turpin family.
The book was sold to the Poe Museum in 1925 by Mrs. Agnes Sledd for $2.50. Mrs. Sledd was the daughter of the Mackenzies' friend and physician Dr. William Turpin of Powhatan County, Virginia. As further evidence of the connections between the Mackenzies and the Turpin family, Mrs. Sledd's daughter, Mrs. Elizabeth Harris loaned Rosalie Poe's piano and sheet music to the Poe Museum to exhibit in 1944; and another Turpin descendant, Miss M. Turpin donated a tintype of Rosalie Poe to the Poe Museum.