It is always an honor to be asked to speak about Edgar Allan Poe and the wonderful collection of Poe documents that are held in the Pratt Library. In January, I spent half a day being interviewed and showing a television crew from the Travel Channel material relating to Poe’s mysterious death. Poe fans know that there are many possible explanations for the poet’s death in October 1849, but few agree on the cause.
We taped the segment for the program Mysteries at the Museum in the Central Library stacks, vault and Poe Room. At each location I was asked a series of questions about Poe, his extraordinary life and the circumstances surrounding his fateful trip to Baltimore. The research that had been done by their staff was impressive. We discussed most of the facts and many of the possible causes of death. They were extremely interested in the letters and the lock of hair in the collection that Pratt holds. It was great to bring that notoriety to the Library.
The brief segment aired recently and you can imagine my surprise when I saw that they took the recorded material and edited it to appear that there is a possibility that Poe died from hydrophobia (rabies). I had to laugh—that’s the first potential cause I always eliminate in my talks about Poe’s death!
The following video was produced by the Library Sights and Sounds Department and highlights the library's Poe Collection.
Check out the Pratt's YouTube channel for the Special Extended Edition of Jeff Korman Presents: The Last Days of Poe.