Background Information

1809
Edgar Poe born in Boston to actors David and Eliza Poe, 19 January
1809
Abraham Lincoln bornAlfred Tennyson bornJAMES MADISON
President (1809–17)

1810
Frédéric Chopin bornP. T. Barnum born

1811
Eliza Poe, on theatrical tour, dies in Richmond, 8 DecemberEdgar is taken in by John and Frances Allan
1811
Richmond Theater burns; Gilbert Hunt, a slave, saves a dozen lives, 26 DecemberHarriet Beecher Stowe born

1812
War of 1812 (1812–15)
Charles Dickens born

1814
“The Star Spangled Banner” composed

1815

1815
In England with the Allans (1815–20)Attends school in London and suburban Stoke-Newington
1815
Napoleon defeated at Waterloo

1817
Henry David Thoreau bornWilliam Wirt, Sketches of the Life and Character of Patrick HenryJAMES MONROE
President (1817–25)

1819
University of Virginia foundedWashington Irving, The Sketch Book (1819–20)

Walter Scott, Ivanhoe

Herman Melville born

Walt Whitman born

1821
Continues schooling in Richmond (1821–25)Shows aptitude for Latin, poetry, acting and swimming
1822
Liberia established by the American Colonization Society

1823
Monroe Doctrine

1824
Lafayette tours the U.S.Lord Byron dies

1825

1825
Secretly engaged to Sarah Elmira Royster
1825
Erie Canal opensJOHN QUINCY ADAMS
President (1825–29)
1826
Student at the University of VirginiaExcels in ancient and modern languagesIncurs gambling debts
1826
Thomas Jefferson diesJames Fenimore Cooper, The Last of the Mohicans
1827
Quarrels with John AllanLeaves for BostonEnlists in U.S. Army as “Edgar A. Perry”Publishes Tamerlane and Other Poems in Boston
1827
Ludwig van Beethoven dies

1828
Jules Verne born
Construction begins on Baltimore & Ohio,
first American railroad

1829

1829
Frances Allan dies, 28 FebruaryPoe transferred to Fortress Monroe, VirginiaPromoted to Sergeant MajorDischarged from the army in March
Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems
1829
ANDREW JACKSON
President (1829–37)

1830
Godey’s Lady’s Book begins publicationEmily Dickinson born

1831
Expelled from West Point in FebruaryLives in Baltimore with aunt, Maria Clemm, and her daughter, Virginia
Poems: Second Edition contains “To Helen”
1831
Nat Turner’s Insurrection

1832
Virginia General Assembly defeats abolition billJohn Pendleton Kennedy, Swallow Barn

1833
“MS. Found in a Bottle” (short story) wins literary prize; is published in Baltimore Saturday Visitor,
19 October
1833
Knickerbocker magazine begins publicationEdwin Booth born

1834

1834
John Allan dies, 27 March
1834
Southern Literary Messenger begins publicationCyrus McCormick’s reaperJames Abbot McNeill Whistler born
1835
“Hans Pfaal” (first modern science fiction story) published in Richmond’s Southern Literary Messenger, March issueMoves to Richmond in mid-summer to join Messenger editorial staffCourts cousin, Virginia Clemm
Brings Virginia and her mother to Richmond
1835
Augustus Baldwin Longstreet, Georgia ScenesWilliam Gilmore Simms, The YemasseeSamuel L. Clemens bornJohn Marshall dies

1836

1836
Marries Virginia Clemm (age 13) in Richmond, 16 MayIncreases Messenger circulation
1836
Battle of the AlamoRalph Waldo Emerson, NatureWilliam Holmes McGuffey, first Eclectic Reader
1837
Resigns from MessengerMoves to New York, January
1837
Victoria becomes Queen of EnglandNathaniel Hawthorne, Twice-Told TalesBaltimore Sun begins publicationMARTIN VAN BUREN
President (1837–41)
1838
Moves to PhiladelphiaThe Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym (novel)
1838
Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America translated into English

1839

1839
Becomes assistant editor of Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine in JuneThe Conchologist’s First Book
(scientific textbook)
1839
John D. Rockefeller bornCharles Darwin, Journal . . . of H.M.S. Beagle
1840
Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque (2 vols.) includes “The Fall of the House of Usher”Quarrels with editor of Burton’s, leaves in May
1841
Becomes editor of Graham’s Magazine in February“Murders in the Rue Morgue”
(first modern detective story)
1841
Brook Farm establishedWILLIAM HENRY HARRISON
President (March–April 1841)JOHN TYLER
President (1841–45)

1842

1842
Publishes stories:
“The Pit and the Pendulum”
“The Masque of the Red Death”
“The Mystery of Marie Rogêt”Interviews Charles Dickens in March
1842
Potato famine in IrelandRufus W. Griswold, Poets and Poetry of America
1843
Publishes stories:
“The Tell-Tale Heart”
“The Gold Bug”
“The Black Cat”Publishes critical essay:
“The Rationale of Verse”
1843
First telegraph lineElizabeth Barrett Browning, PoemsHenry James bornMoses Ezekiel born
1844
Moves to New York CityLectures on “The Poets and Poetry of America”“The Balloon Hoax” (satirical story)

1845

1845
Publishes “The Raven” in the New York Evening Mirror, 29 JanuaryPublishes Tales in JulyPublishes The Raven and Other Poems in November
1845
Mexican War (1845–46)Texas and Florida become U.S. statesU.S. Naval Academy opensFrederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick DouglassJAMES KNOX POLK
President (1845–49)
1846
Moves to Fordham, New York“The Cask of Amontillado” (story)“The Philosophy of Composition” (critical essay)several Poe stories translated, critically acclaimed in France
1846
Smithsonian Institution foundedHerman Melville, Typee
1847
Virginia Clemm Poe dies, 30 JanuaryPoe falls illCompletes “Ulalume” (poem)
1847
Mormons establish Salt Lake CityHenry Wadsworth Longfellow, Evangeline

1848

1848
Eureka (philosophical essay)Reads “The Poetic Principle” (critical essay)to audience of 1,800Writes “The Bells” (poem)
1848
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels,
The Communist Manifesto James Russell Lowell, A Fable for CriticsSeneca Falls, New York
Women’s Rights Convention
1849
In Richmond to lecture and see friends in mid-summerEngaged to widow Sarah Elmira (Royster) Shelton, former fiancéeLeaves Richmond for New York, 27 SeptemberFound delirious in Baltimore, 3 OctoberDies, 7 OctoberPoems appear posthumously:
“The Bells”
“Annabel Lee”
“El Dorado”
1849
California Gold RushZACHARY TAYLOR
President (1849–50)
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