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University Turns Back The Clock To Honor Poe On 150th Anniversary Of His Death

Sept. 28, 1999 -- In honor of Edgar Allan Poe and his short but colorful time at the University of Virginia, the Associates of the University of Virginia Library and the Raven Society will commemorate the 150th anniversary of Poe’s death on Thursday, Oct. 7, at 4 p.m. at the U.Va. Chapel.

Open to the public, the program will feature "Better Late Than Never: The Eulogy for Edgar Allan Poe That Should Have Been," a talk given by Ron Furqueron of Historical Impressions, an organization specializing in period performances. Portraying a "nineteenth century gentleman," he "will set the record straight and rehabilitate the reputation of Mr. Poe, who was cruelly maligned by his enemies after his untimely death," said Mary Ann Lawlor, Library Associates program chair.

Following the program in the chapel, a wreath will be laid at the door of Poe’s room, 13 West Range. The program will then proceed to Alderman Library for a rededication of the 1899 Zolnay bust of Poe. In keeping with the spirit of the day, musical entertainment by the Library’s Ad Hoc Chorus will feature a selection of Poe’s poems.

The University Bookstore will sell books by and about Poe with the first 100 people to purchase a book receiving a free T-shirt, courtesy of Random House. Complimentary copies of the booklet, "Poe at the University" by the late Irby B. Cauthen Jr. will be given to those attending the event. The booklet includes two letters Poe wrote home to his foster father, John Allan, in which he described fights he witnessed at the University and asked his guardian for soap and a copy of Historiae of Tacitus.

In conjunction with the Poe commemoration, fans of Poe around the world can view Poe letters on-line from the collections of the University of Virginia Library, Richmond’s Poe Museum and the Valentine Museum. The web site, created by David Seaman, the director of the U.Va Library’s Electronic Text Center, is located at:

In 1826, when Poe entered the University, which he attended for about a year, he was one of only 177 students. The Library moved from Pavilion VII to the Rotunda in September of that year. It was open one hour a day and books could be checked out one day a week with a professor’s approval. Now, 150 years after Poe’s death, the Library has 14 branches and over 4.5 million volumes serving 21,000 students, as well as researchers and scholars throughout the world via the World Wide Web.

For more information about the Poe commemoration, contact Sara Lee Barnes of the Library Associates at (804) 243-8656 or by e-mail:

Contact: Melissa Norris, (804) 924-4254

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: please contact the Office of University Relations at (804) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (804) 924-7550.
SOURCE: U.Va. News Services


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