• The William E. Self Library, I auction at Christies

    Sale 2153

    The William E. Self Library, Important English and American Literature

    4 December 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 172

    POE, Edgar Allan. The Works of the late Edgar Allan Poe: With Notices of His Life and Genius. By N.P. Willis, J.R. Lowell, and R.W. Griswold. New York: J.S. Redfield, 1850.

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    POE, Edgar Allan. The Works of the late Edgar Allan Poe: With Notices of His Life and Genius. By N.P. Willis, J.R. Lowell, and R.W. Griswold. New York: J.S. Redfield, 1850.

    2 volumes, 12o. Engraved portrait. Original publisher's blindstamped brown cloth, spine lettered in gilt (upper joint splitting on vol. II, other minor wear to spine ends and corners, a few chips). Provenance: A. Bardwell Heywood (presentation inscription in each volume from Poe's mother-in-law and aunt, Maria Clemm); Stephen H. Wakeman (bookplate; his sale, American Art Association, 29 April 1924, lot 958 for $240); George C. Smith (his sale, AAA, 24 November 1937, lot 366); William H. Koester, Baltimore (see Heartman & Canny, p. 133).

    FIRST EDITION, PRESENTATION COPY FROM POE'S DEVOTED MOTHER-IN-LAW AND AUNT, MARIA CLEMM, inscribed in Vol. I: "To A. Bardwell Heywood, Esq. from his sincere friend, Maria Clemm"; and in Vol. II: "To Dear Bardie, from his affectionate friend, Maria Clemm."

    Maria Poe Clemm was the younger sister of Edgar's father David Poe, and the mother of Virginia Eliza Clemm, Poe's wife. Known as "Muddy" to Poe, she served as his much-needed mother during much of his adult life, caring for the sickly Virginia, and managing a household for the couple from 1829. She cared for Poe during the final two tragic years of his life following the death of Virginia in 1847.

    Following the news of Poe's death in Baltimore on October 7, 1849, Maria Clemm approached Rufus W. Griswold and requested that he edit and publish a collection of Poe's writings. A notice "To the Reader" from Mrs. Clemm appears in the first volume, stating that the publication was for her financial benefit, although she seems never to have received more than a number of sets of the volumes to sell.

    Bardwell Heywood was the brother of Mrs. ("Annie") Richmond and principal of the Franklin Grammar School in Lowell, Massachusetts. He was instrumental in Poe's three known visits to Lowell, during the first of which he met and became captivated by his sister "Annie" Richmond (see previous). It was Bardwell Heywood who first invited Poe to come to Westford and explain Eureka before the local reading circle. As evident in these inscriptions, following Poe's death, Maria Clemm maintained a close relationship with Heywood. A VERY POIGNANT ASSOCIATION. BAL 16158; Heartman & Canny, pp. 129-33.

    [Tipped-in Vol. I:] Autograph letter signed from Maria Clemm to the poet Fitz-Greene Halleck, Milford, 18 March 1853, one page, 12mo: "...The publisher of my late son's (E.A. Poe) works only allow me...as many copies as I choose to dispose of...Will you have the goodness to purchase of me a copy (consisting of three volumes) at $3.75 when I tell you I am a widow, childless, and this my only dependence, I hope this appeal will not be in vain..."
    [Tipped-in Vol. I:] POE, Edgar Allan. Autograph addressed envelope to Mrs. Clemm and displaying his name: "Mrs. Maria Clemm, Care of Edgar A. Poe, Esq. New York City." (2)


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