The Museum Collection

Letter to Edgar Allan Poe (Editor of the Broadway Journal) from A.S. Jordan

ID #: 81.19
Creator: A.S. Jordan
Date: October 4, 1845
Format: Letter
Collection: Poe Foundation, Inc.
Place of Publication:
Publish Date:


This letter is addressed to the "Editors and Publishers of the B'Way Journal" by a lawyer who threatens a libel suit against the Broadway Journal for statements the Music Critic Henry Cood Watson (1818-1875) wrote about U.C. Hill, Conductor of the Sacred Music Society, in recent issues of the journal. In the September 27, 1845 issue, Watson wrote of the Sacred Music Society's performance of Loewe's oratorio, "Much of the character of the music was lost...through the conductor (Mr. U.C. Hill) mistaking the tempo of several pieces..." In the October 4 issue (the date of this letter), Watson writes, "Mr. Hill is a very estimable and worthy man in his private relations, but as a conductor, we can award him but little commendation. He certainly strives to make up in perseverance what he wants in knowledge and appreciation, but he has made too many distinct failures to command the respect of the performers..." In response to these criticisms, U.C. Hill hired the lawyer A.S. Jordan, whose letter appears here.

Henry C. Watson left the Broadway Journal by the October 25, 1845 issue to devote more time to lectures, musical composition, and teaching, but he remained on friendly terms with Poe who shared his interest in music.

Poe was no stranger to controversy. His harsh literary criticisms made him many enemies among the literary communities of New York, Boston, and elsewhere. At one point, Poe sued a rival editor, Thomas Dunn English, for libel and won.