The Museum Collection

Poe Letter to Thomas White

ID #: 2008.7
Creator: Edgar Allan Poe
Date: July 20, 1835
Format: Letter
Source: Merrill Griswold
Collection: Poe Foundation, Inc.
Place of Publication:
Publish Date:
This signature appears on the second page of the letter.
Page 1
The first page of the letter contains an aknowledgment of receipt of a payment of $20 for contibutions to the Southern Literary Messenger. The page also contains a recounting of the literary contest Poe won in Balimore: "Herewith I send you a Baltimore Visiter of October 12th 1833. It contains a highly complimentary letter from Mr Kennedy, Mr Latrobe, and Dr Miller of Baltimore in relation to myself. The Tales of the Folio Club have only been partially published as yet. Lionizing was one of them. If you could in any manner contrive to have this letter copied into any of the Richmond Papers it would greatly advance a particular object which I have in view. If you could find an excuse for printing it in the Messenger it would be still better. You might observe that as many contradictory opinions had been formed in relation to my Tales & especially to Lionizing, you took the liberty of copying the Letter of the Baltimore Committee. One fact I would wish particularly noticed. The Visiter offered two Premiums-- one for the best Tale & one for the best Poem --both of which were awarded to me. The award was, however, altered and the Premium for Poetry awarded to the second best in consideration of my having obtained the higher Prize. This Mr Kennedy & Mr Latrobe told me themselves. I know you will do me this favour if you can--the manner of doing it I leave altogether to yourself."
Page 2
The last paragraph contains Poe's request for a recalculation of White's previous payment to Poe. The passage reads: "Look over Hans Phaal, and the Literary Notices by me in No 10, and see if you have not miscalculated the sum due me. There are 34 columns in all. Hans Phaal cost me nearly a fortnights hard labour and was written especially for the Messenger. I will not however sin so egregiously again in sending you a long article. I will confine myself to 3 or 4 pages."
This page contains the address and the remnants of the wax seal.
Image 1 of


Shortly after Edgar Allan Poe started writing for the Southern Literary Messenger, he wrote to the owner, Thomas White, to complain that he had not been paid enough for his story "Hans Phaal." Poe asks White to recount the number of columns and recalculate the payment based on the space rates they had agreed upon. Also in the letter, Poe recounts his participation in a writing contest sponsored by the Baltimore Visiter.

Merrill Griswold, grandson of Poe's literary executor Rufus Griswold, donated the letter to the Poe Museum in 1948.