Museum News

Poe Museum is in Search of Next Edgar Allan Poe

Who will be the next Edgar Allan Poe? The Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia intends to find out. From June 21-27, 2015, the Museum will host its annual Edgar Allan Poe Young Writers’ Conference for high school students. Designed and founded in 2004 by Edgar™ Award-winning author and Edgar Allan Poe’s cousin, Dr. Harry Lee Poe, the Edgar Allan Poe Young Writers’ Conference attracts students from across the country to take part in a unique and intensive writing experience. In addition to participating in daily workshops, the students will learn from writing professionals including award-winning novelists, editors, journalists, poets, and playwrights. What makes the conference special is its Poe connection. Richmond, Virginia was home to Edgar Allan Poe for thirteen years, and it is here that he began his literary career. Students will learn from and be inspired by Poe by studying his craft as well as by visiting the sites that inspired or served as settings for his greatest works.

Past speakers have included Nero, Lefty, and Shamus Award-winning author Brad Parks; Hammett Prize winning novelist and journalist Howard Owen; Edgar Award™ winning biographer and educator Dr. Harry Lee Poe; and Theresa Pollack Award winning editor Mary Flinn.

The conference is designed to empower students to be leaders, educators, and writing professionals. So far, past students have become published authors and have been accepted into prestigious university writing programs.

To learn more about the conference or to apply, please click here of call the Edgar Allan Poe Museum at 804-648-5523 or [email protected] Click here to download an application. Applications are due April 1.

More Information about the Young Writers’ Conference:
The Edgar Allan Poe Young Writers’ Conference empowers high school students with the skills they need to become the next generation of great writers. In the tradition of Edgar Allan Poe, who encouraged and inspired young writers in his own time, the Poe Museum’s annual conference brings together students with professional journalists, editors, novelists, poets, and others who have devoted their lives to writing. The program is designed to encourage future innovation, expression, and leadership in Richmond’s literary community.

Conference Components

The participants will learn from the professionals who have devoted their lives to writing. Each morning of the conference, professional editors, technical writers, journalists, playwrights, novelists, and poets will share their experiences and advice with the participants. These speakers have included winners of such prestigious awards as the Edgar™, the Nero, the Lefty, and the Shamus.

Each day of the conference, the students will practice the craft of writing by participating in group writing exercises with an advanced writing instructor.

Practicing the Craft
Each day’s rigorous schedule would not be complete without time for attendees to practice their newly learned skills by crafting a composition that will be completed by the end of the week.

Focus on Poe
We believe great writing is grounded in an appreciation and understanding of the writers who came before us. Therefore, each day of the conference, time is dedicated to special field trips and activities focused on learn about the art and techniques of Edgar Allan Poe’s writing.

Art is not created in a vacuum but is the result of the sharing of ideas and experiences. Each evening of the conference is devoted to building a fellowship and cooperation among the participants as well as enabling them to one become leaders in the larger writing community.

Young Writers’ Conference Points of Interest
Fifty eight students have completed in the conference in its eight years
Many graduates of the conference have been accepted to prestigious writing programs and Virginia Commonwealth University, the University of Virginia, and elsewhere.
Two Notable Conferees:
Joy Thomas’s work has been published in Style Weekly.
Rachel Martens has published a series of novels called The Poe Series.

Poe Museum Summer 2012 Newsletter

Here is the latest issue of the Poe Museum’s newsletter featuring updates on the Museum’s fall events. Summer2012newsletter5

An Appeal from Poe Foundation President Harry Lee Poe

Dear Friends of Poe,

A couple weeks ago we convened the Poe Museum’s fifth Edgar Allan Poe Young Writers’ Conference. This year we hosted ten students from seven different states from Massachusetts to Arizona. Why did these talented high school students (pictured above) give up a week of their summer to come to the Poe Museum? They came for the same reason that hundreds of students on field trips leave the Poe Museum with books purchased from our gift shop. Teachers often tell us that Edgar Allan Poe is the first author who excites students about reading and writing. Among the students of yesterday who credited Poe with inspiring their careers are Jules Verne, Alfred Hitchcock, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Perhaps one of the students at this summers’ conference, one of the students who visited the museum on a school field trip, or even one of the hundreds of thousands of students who visit our website each month will write the next great novel or screenplay. These students are one reason I support the Poe Museum.

We have seen our numbers grow significantly in the years I have served on the board of the Poe Museum. In 2001, our annual attendance was 11,000. For the past year our attendance had grown to 18,000. In 2001 we had 46 school groups visit the museum, but this past year we had 81 groups. Since 2009 when the National Endowment for the Arts made Poe the center of a national program to stimulate reading, the Poe Museum has brought visiting exhibits and programs to schools and libraries all over the southeast.

The Poe Museum is more successful than it has ever been, yet our need for individual financial support has never been greater. Five years ago we relied on a large group of donors who gave $50, $100, $200, and $500 each year. Since the beginning of the recession, our support has fallen significantly. We do not have a large endowment, nor do we rely on government support for our operations. We depend upon a balanced mix of support from admissions fees, shops sales, corporate support, individual support, grants, and modest local government support. We depend upon all of these, and when the money is not present, we can only cut our service and cut our staff.

As we begin a new fiscal year, please join me in making a gift to the Poe Museum that will help stimulate the educational motivation of the next generation at a time when our educational institutions are in crisis and need the auxiliary help of organizations like the Poe Museum. Your donation will also help us pay other expenses associated with preserving, exhibiting, and insuring the world’s finest collection of Poe artifacts and memorabilia (not to mention the upkeep of a 260-year-old building). As the Poe Museum celebrates its ninetieth anniversary this year, we look forward to laying the foundation for the next ninety years of inspiring young minds.

Thank you in advance for your generous support. If you have not visited the Poe Museum recently, we invite you to come this summer to see our incredible new temporary exhibit featuring dozens of rarely seen Poe letters and manuscripts from seven different private and public collections.

Harry Lee Poe

Young Writers Read Their Latest Works at the Poe Museum

Hear tomorrow’s great writers read their latest work. The Poe Museum will host a public reading by the participants in this year’s Edgar Allan Poe Young Writers’ Conference on Friday, June 22 from 7 to 8:30 P.M. This year, the conference accepted nine high school students from seven different states into a week-long intensive writing program for promising young writers. During the conference, the students are challenged to produce a work that can be read at the week-end public reading. Each day of the conference, attendees will have an opportunity to learn more about American writers Edgar Allan Poe by visiting the places he lived and worked or by taking special tours of prominent collections of Poe artifacts.

Directed by Edgar™ Award-winning author and Edgar Allan Poe cousin Dr. Harry Lee Poe, this exclusive conference is now entering its fifth year and has so far attracted students from across the country to spend a week learning the craft of writing from a variety of profession writers and editors. This year’s applicants hail from Arizona, Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Wisconsin, and Virginia.

Admission to the reading and reception is free. Join us in supporting tomorrow’s great writers today.

Edgar Allan Poe in song!

Alex Harris, a student who has been doing a research project at the Poe Museum for the past month or so, wrote Poe a fun song which he shared with us (and a tour group) today! Check out the video here:

Thanks for sharing your song with us, Alex! and best of luck with your project!

Coming Next Summer: Edgar Allan Poe Young Writers’ Conference

Students at a previous Poe Young Writers' Conference visiting the Poe Museum

Want to be the next Edgar Allan Poe? If you are a high school student we loves writing, the Edgar Allan Poe Young Writers’ Conference is for you.

The Edgar Allan Poe Young Writers’ Conference, scheduled for June 17-23, 2012, provides a weeklong residential program designed to encourage and stimulate the writing skills of high school students. Students will have a variety of experiences including small group instruction with a writing instructor, lectures by practicing writers in several different fields, personal writing time with critical response from instructors, and special events designed to enhance the writing experience.

This conference is sponsored by the Edgar Allan Poe Museum of Richmond, Virginia, to continue the legacy of Edgar Allan Poe. One of Poe’s greatest concerns was the development of a truly American literature. As editor of many of the nation’s leading journals, Poe inspired many young writers. In keeping with that concern, the Poe Museum hopes to encourage the development of the next generation of writers.

Poe called Richmond his home, having spent the greater part of his life here. During his teenage years in Richmond, he was encouraged to write by Mrs. Jane Stith Stanard. In Richmond he began his career in journalism when he took over the editorship of The Southern Literary Messenger.


Each morning the participants will hear from practicing writers in a variety of fields, including fiction, poetry, journalism, and non-fiction. Since participants will have already studied the mechanics of grammar in school, the lecturers will address the practice of writing from their own experience. Lectures will combine theory and practice to give the participants an understanding of what is involved in moving to the next level as a writer.


Each participant will take part in a daily seminar that includes an experienced writing instructor and 9 – 12 students. Seminars are working groups in which participants read from their own work, receive critique and encouragement from the instructor and their peers, and gain instruction in how to improve as a writer. Participants will be introduced to exercises and promptings that enhance writing skills.


Every afternoon the participants will devote time to developing the craft of writing by immediately putting into practice what they have gained from lectures and seminars. Seminar leaders will help students craft the piece they work on during the week.


A critical element that contributes to good writing is a strong appreciation of good writing. Every afternoon, a presentation will be given that deals with an aspect of the writing of Edgar Allan Poe and what makes his writing so effective. Poe is known and appreciated around the world as America’s contribution to world literature. We will explore why his poetry and tales are read avidly in France, Russia, Japan, and around the world.


Writing emerges from the experiences of life. During Poe’s day, the artists and writers of the time gathered regularly in the evenings. Music or drama may have been the focus of their attention as much as writing. Cross-fertilization of artistic and intellectual experiences stimulates creativity. In short, all work and no play makes Jack and Jill painfully dull. Evening activities are meant to be fun while contributing to a frame of reference that will give writers something to say.


Who may apply?

High school students who have completed the ninth grade may apply.

What is a residential program?

A residential program involves living together as a community of writers. A residential approach allows for the creation of an environment that encourages the development of an attitude of writing. Colleagues stimulate one another through conversation, sharing of ideas, reading one another’s work, and sharing a routine designed to gain the maximum benefit from a weeklong experience.

Where will the participants stay?

Participants will live together in a college dormitory. All lectures, small groups, and most special events will take place across the street in the University Commons. Participants will take meals together in the University dining hall across from the Commons.

Are students on their own after class?

Because this is a residential program in which all the pieces are carefully designed to complement one another, there is no free time after class until the entire week is over. Resident assistants who are college students live in the dorms with the conference participants to ensure that everyone respects the purpose of the conference and to be available in case of emergencies. We will have one resident assistant for every ten students.

What are the security provisions in the dorm?

Security guards are on duty twenty-four hours a day at the entrance to the dormitory and make regular inspections of the facility.

What is the cost of the program?

The cost per person is $650.00. This fee includes lodging for six nights, double occupancy, and three meals per day, Monday through Friday. The Sunday meal will only be supper following afternoon arrival, and the Saturday meal will only be breakfast flowed by departure.

Who is the director of the conference?

The director of the conference is Edgar Award-winning author Dr. Harry Lee Poe, a cousin of Edgar Allan Poe and the current president of the Edgar Allan Poe Museum. Dr. Poe has had a distinguished academic career as scholar and administrator. He has written seven books and contributed chapters to over twenty others. He is a published poet and popular speaker.


7:30 – 8:00 Breakfast

8:00 – 8:30 Personal time

8:30 – 9:30 Morning Plenary (lecture)

9:30 – 9:45 Break

9:45 – 10:45 Seminar

10:45 – 11:00 Break

11:00 – 12:00 Seminar (cont.)

12:00 – 1:00 Lunch

1:00 – 4:00 Personal Writing Time

4:00 – 5:00 Focus on Poe

5:00 – 6:00 Free time

6:00 – 7:00 Supper

7:00 – 9:00 Salon (special events)

9:00 – 11:00 Community


We assume that those who apply to the program are serious about writing and want to use their time to develop their skill and make a contribution as a member of a writing community. Failure to comply with the rules will result in expulsion from the program.

Smoking and/or the use of alcohol or other illegal substances is not allowed.

Students are not allowed to have a car with them during the conference.

Students may not leave the campus.

Students may not visit the dorm rooms of members of the opposite sex. Residence life is not a co-ed experience.

Students may not engage in sexual relations.

In order to attend the conference, applicants must sign a statement that they have read the rules and agree to abide by them.


The Edgar Allan Poe Young Writers’ Conference is open to high school students who demonstrate a serious interest in writing and have the maturity to live in an academic community for a week. You will be notified by May 1 of the decision about your application. Those who are accepted into the program will be expected to pay a deposit of $100 by May 30, 2012 to secure their place in the conference. A complete application includes the following:

1. A completed application form.

2. A writing sample of fiction, poetry, journalism, or non-fiction essay of not more than five pages, double-spaced.

3. A completed recommendation form from a teacher familiar with your ability and interest in writing (sent directly to the Poe Museum).

4. A completed recommendation from a teacher or other adult who can attest to your maturity and ability to work within a close-knit community (sent directly to the Poe Museum).

Mail your application by April 1, 2012 to:
Edgar Allan Poe Young Writers’ Conference
Poe Museum
1914 East Main Street
Richmond, Virginia 23223

Have more questions? Call the Poe Museum at 888-21-EAPOE or email us at [email protected] for more information and an application. You can also download the application here.

Conference Director Dr. Harry Poe with Poe performer Norman George at a previous conference

The Latest Theories about Poe’s Death

Here are some more new theories, submitted to our website, about the cause of Poe’s mysterious death. Study the evidence and submit your own theory at

Snow Heart
Age 16
Blacklick, Oh
I feel Poe, even though we all can tell that he had many things wrong with him that could have resulted in his death, I feel that he planned it so that we could not figure out his death, although all clues seem to point to him overdosing until his death, suicide seems to be what he would do, although it is in my opinion that his death was his last great work, creating the ultimate mystery and horror through himself. He seems to have taken the steps necessary to hide how he died, whether or not he wanted this mystery to be solved is another mystery all it’s own but I feel he caused his own death through liquor, and a series of health problems that he was aware he had to leave behind a legacy to us who love his great works.

Age 14
Wedowee, Alabama
I think he had a disease but noboby knew that he had one and finally he died

Age 13
Battle Creek, Michigan
i killed edgar allan poe

Age 13
Edgar was already a strange man. He could have gone crazy because of hereditary reasons and who knows what could have happened. All of these theories could possibly be true, but we will never know.

Age 12
Ontario, California
I beleive that the reason of Poe’s death was simply the irregular heart beat, and the brain tumor that should have been treated.

Age 95
Memphis , Tennesee
Poe could have died of any cause of Death, but I would think it to be Murder.

Age 13
Coral Springs, Florida
I have observed that when Edgar was hospitalized 5 O’clock in the afternoon to 3 am the next day he was drunk and ill and started hallucinating and talking to thing that weren’t there he got angry at one of the nurses and started acting rough with her and for her self defense she started hitting Edgar causing brain trauma and followed by a heavy fever and estimating died 2 hours later.

Age 16
San Marcos, California
I feel that Poe’s alcoholism and possibly a mixture of drugs as well is what made him delirious, and he’d had taken him since he was such a melancholic person. Maybe a suicide? Asking God for forgiveness when he said “Lord, help my poor soul” minutes before he died.

Age 14
Ball, Louisiana
my theory of Edgar Allan Poe’s death is that he died of either a heart attack or he killed himself because he got drunk;)

Age 14
Alexandria, Louisiana
mr poe mustve was real sick that no one knew about and the doctor mustve gave him a due date that he suppose to die.

Age 13
Blanchester, Ohio
I think that Edgar was a very intelligent man. I think maybe, being an orphan at such a young age, and him hopping from city to city, took a toll on him & He began to drink. After his first wife died, he started drinking more and more. He got in ill health because of this. I also think he was on drugs from his insane stories. So maybe he just ended his own life because he knew it was going to end soon.

Age 14
Calgary, Alberta
brain tumor

Age 14
Sacramento, California
Maybe all his poems and stories were true, about him self or someone else and when that other person saw what he was doing they started poisoning Poe. But if there wasn’t another person then maybe they were about himself and having people know about his actions but not no the reality of them drove him insane and Reynolds that he had said before he died could have been one of his victims or the one person that knew his poems were true.

Age 16
Killeen, Texas
i believe that poe was still alive; only that he went into hiding. maybe it was to hide from his fears or maybe it was the fact that his pain made him so insane he jus disappeared. only thing i know is that he was a great author and i really appreciated him a lot ……

Age 18
Rosario, Argentina
in my opinion, it could be caused by several reasons. health problems and why not? that idiot politicians could drugged him and kick him because of the election time. he never killed himself. he was with elmira again. so, it’s imposible.

Age 13
Boston, Massachusetts
aliens came and took poe away before he could do anything and they made him watch reruns of ugly betty which then killed him

Age 20
Thessaloniki, Greece
Edgar Allan Poe had suffered so much while he was alive and in such a short time that he probably had problems with alcohol. He had already been addicted to gambling before so why not drinking as well? He was found in a delirium and in somebody else’s clothes. He was drunk and lost his clothes in gambling.

Age 13
Scottsville, Kentucky
my theory is that poe could have went out in the woods and been bitten by an animal and got rabies.

Age 13
Anchorage, Alaska
They said they found him in a bar. They say that he had to be carried out. I suppose that the people in the bar were drunk so they could have seen the real reason he died. Could he have been poisoned by his friend? They felt that it was wrong and showed the most evil side of people. I believe that he was murdered for that reason possibly.

Age 13
Virginia Beach , Virginia
I think Poe died because he drank too much and got alcohol poisoning. When the people found him he was already dead and they couldn’t revive him. Even if they had found him earlier I don’t think they would have been advanced enough medically to treat his poisoning sufficiently.

Age 13
Lancaster, California
Poe died of a pre-existing disease, probably a brain tumor, which grew over time slowly killing him. He said himself in a letter to Maria Clemm that he had not been drinking around the time of his death. Also he left his clothes and correct walking stick at home which is why we was found looking “worse for wear”. He was around the bar because he was giving lectures like he had been doing prior to his leaving Richmond. His close personal friend and nurse said that he had some type of lesion to the brain.

Solve the Mystery of Poe’s Death

The cause of Poe’s death remains a mystery 159 years after the fact. Theories abound, but none has become the definitive explanation. Now we are asking you to help solve the mystery. Check out some of the clues gathered from primary sources at On October 5, 2008 at the Poe Museum’s Poe Memorial Service, we will choose the best theories, and the winning detective will receive a prize. There is still plenty of time left to submit your theories, so we encourage you enter the contest and to come to the Poe Memorial Service.

Since this website was posted, we have already received some good theories, some of which are posted below.

I think that he took a drug over dose when he was sick.I think that because in the story it said that he became sick.He was also an alcoholic, so he probably took the medicine while he was drinking the alcohol. So it probably caused the brain tumor, which caused him to die.
~Allie Thomas, Maryland

I think he did an drug overdose or he was poisoned by someone.                                  ~Christopher Dailey and Richard Royal, Maryland

I believe he died because he could of possiably catched an airbourne disease coming and going from Richmond! Or possiably from a broken heart because his wife Virginia know as Ginny died of sickness. He really loved her and any person could die because a loved one has passed away.  The stress of being without out her may hurt way to much for him to bear and he just gave up, got sick and just passed away!
~Abbey, Florida

He died from a brain tumor and epilepsy because he had no treatment for either.
~Nicole, Florida