who was Mrs. Sarah Helen Whitman

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I urgently need to know who Mrs. Sarah Helen Whitman was and what she had to do with Poe.

-- Anonymous, January 16, 2000


Sarah Whitham was Poe's highschool sweetheart whom, after he left the University of Virginia, he returned to find wed to another man. After the death of Virginia, he wooed her, and she became his second wife.

-- Anonymous, January 21, 2000

Jon and PJ,

The first love affair of young Edgar Allan Poe was not Ms. Sarah Helen Whitman. It was a young lady by the name of Sarah Elmira Royster. However, any intensity to be interpreted from this brief relationship was, most likely, interpreted by Edgar Poe himself. John Allan, Poes foster father, in concert with Sarahs father, schemed to keep them apart and it is thought that this is one of the motives for sending Poe to the University of Virginia.

It is accurate that he and Sarah Elmira (Royster) Shelton met and planned to marry after the death of Poe's wife, Virginia. It is not accurate that Poe ever remarried. In fact, it was on his trip back to New York City to collect and bring his Aunt, Mrs. Clemm to the Poe/Shelton wedding scheduled for October 17, 1849, that Poe mysteriously strayed into Baltimore, was found lying in the street and died some days later.

Sarah Helen (Power) Whitman was a widow and poetess, of Providence, Rhode Island. Poe had seen her in 1845 but they had never met until 1848. They became engaged for a brief period but her mother was opposed to the relationship and Sarah chose to break it off. It is thought that, although there was mutual and honest affection between them, it was more a consequence of mutual, heartfelt respect than from passion. Poe wrote the second To Helen for this Sarah. In 1860, Mrs. Sarah Whitman published Edgar Poe and His Critics, largely in defense of Poes character and a splendid analysis of his writings.

Hope this helps PJ! : )

-- Anonymous, January 21, 2000

Sarah Never become his second wife. They were engaged to be married, but he died days before the ceremony.

-- Anonymous, March 16, 2000

I have to add in that they never married because he broke his promise not to drink and was found drinking by Mrs. Powers (Sarah's mother who didn't approve of Poe) Sarah broke off the engagement and they never married.

-- Anonymous, June 13, 2000

Okay. He didn't marry her, he didn't die days before the ceremony, and high school sweetheart?! Listen to Tis. She (i think it's she...) knows her stuff.

-- Anonymous, April 22, 2001

any connection to Walt Whitman?

-- Anonymous, December 10, 2001

For the complete story, and the poetry, email the Poet's Press, which is run by Brett Rutherford, who has just published a book on the subject. His email is: brettrutherford@cox.net

-- Anonymous, October 08, 2003

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