The Museum Collection

Elmira Royster Shelton Daguerreotype

ID #: 78.20.2
Creator: Unknown
Date: ca.1850s
Format: Sixth Plate Daguerreotype
Source: Gift of Mrs. Elsie W. Pearson
Collection: Poe Foundation, Inc.
Place of Publication:
Publish Date:


This daguerreotype represents Edgar Allan Poe's first and last fiancee, Elmira Royster Shelton. Poe was first engaged to Shelton in 1826, when he was seventeen years old, but her father intercepted Poe's letters to her and broke off their relationship while Poe was attending the University of Virginia later that year. Poe's second engagement to Shelton took place in September 1849, less than a month before his death. He died ten days before their planned wedding. This daguerreotype shows Shelton as she appeared within a few years of her second engagment to Poe.

Shelton's great granddaughter, Mrs. Elsie W. Pearson, inherited the daguerreotype of Shelton, Shelton's spectacles, and an albumen print photograph of Poe. Mrs. Pearson was a charter member of the Poe Foundation and left the above items to the Poe Museum in June, 1978.