The Museum Collection

Edgar Allan Poe's Chair

ID #: 8
Creator: Unknown
Date: ca. 1820-1830
Format: American Empire Side Chair
Dimensions: 25" H, 16.5" W
Source: Gift of Mrs. James E. Phillips
Collection: Poe Foundation, Inc.
Place of Publication:
Publish Date:


This is said to be the chair Edgar Allan Poe used while working in the office of the Southern Literary Messenger in Richmond from 1835 to 1837. Legend tells that Poe's boss, Thomas White, cut down the back of the seat to encourage Poe to sit up straight. The chair was once on display with Poe's desk until the owner of the desk, James H. Whitty, took back the desk, which is now in the collection of the Harry Ransom Center in Austin, Texas. The desk and chair were reunited in 2009 for an exhibit at the University of Virginia and the Harry Ransom Center.

Among the first items to enter the Poe Museum (the eighth to be specific) the chair was donated to the Museum in 1921 by Mrs. James E. Phillips of Monument Avenue, Richmond.