The Museum Collection

John Hamilton Mackenzie Albumen Print Photograph

ID #: 84.22
Creator: Unknown
Date: 1860-1875
Format: albumen print photograph
Dimensions: 8.25" x 6"
Collection: Poe Foundation, Inc.
Place of Publication:
Publish Date:


John Hamilton Mackenzie (1806-1875) was a lifelong friend of Edgar Allan Poe. He was also the foster brother (and, after his father William Mackenzie's death in 1829, the legal guardian) of Poe's sister, Rosalie Mackenzie Poe. After Poe's death, John H. Mackenzie provided information about the author to the biographer Susan Archer Talley Weiss for her book The Home Life of Poe.

Though this image is undated, it was likely taken between 1855 (when albumen print photography became popular) and 1875 (when the subject died). Comparing the subject's apparent age with that in an earlier daguerreotype portrait in the Poe Museum's collection, it seems this photograph was probably taken in the late 1860s or later.

The inscription written on the back of the photograph reads:
"John Hamilton Mackenzie
The eldest child of Wm Mackenzie of Richmond + who was the intimate friend of Edgar Allan Poe whose sister Rosalie Mackenzie Poe was his adopted sister + lived in his home Duncan Lodge near Richmond Va (Duncan Lodge home of Wm Mackenzie)
John H Mackenzie Married Louisa Lanier sister of William Lewis Lanier of New Orleans, but later of Selma Ala
Upon the death of Mrs. W.L. Lanier early in 1849 her three children Jane Bretney Lanier Born Dec 15, 1842,
Mary Louisa Lanier
Martha Bowles Lanier were taken by John H. Mackenzie into his house-hold + raised by him + his wife until Jane married.
He married second Mrs. D. Beny B Lapham (Mary F. Mattox) the cousin of his first wife + for whom he was guardian + raised in his house."

This photograph was part of a collection of Mackenzie family documents, photographs, newspaper clippings, and other ephemera given to the Poe Museum in 1984 by relatives of the Mackenzie family. The Poe Museum also owns several other Mackenzie items, including a photograph of Poe's sister Rosalie Mackenzie Poe and Rosalie Poe's piano.