The Museum Collection

Thomas White Portrait

ID #:
Creator: Unknown Artist
Format: Oil on Canvas
Dimensions: 11" x 9"
Source: Mrs. M. Willis Stedman Graves, great granddaughter of subject
Collection: Poe Foundation, Inc.
Place of Publication:
Publish Date:


Thomas Willis White (1788-1843) was the founder of the Southern Literary Messenger, a journal based in Richmond, Virgina. White hired Poe in 1835, a year after the journal was established, and Poe worked as assistant editor and contributor until he moved to New York in 1837. During Poe's time with the magazine, the circulation increased dramatically and became the leading journal in the southern United States. Poe's contributions to the journal include a number of book reviews, the first installments of his only finished novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym; his only play, Politian; as well as short stories including "Berenice," "Morella," "Four Beasts in One," and "The Unparalleled Adventure of one Hans Pfaall."

Although he admired Poe's literary talents, White condemned Poe for his intemperance and for his harsh literary reviews. White once wrote that Poe only read books "to ridicule their authors."

White's great granddaughter, Mrs. M. Willis Stedman Graves, presented the piece to Poe Foundation President, James H. Whitty, who gave it to the Poe Museum.