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Famous Adoptees or Adopters

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Edgar Allan Poe, American poet, short-story writer (1809–1849)


Poe's parents, who were both actors, died by the time he was 3 years old. He was taken into the home of his godfather, John Allan, a wealthy Richmond merchant.

Poe is considered one of the most brilliant and original writers in American literature. His skillfully wrought tales and poems passionately convey the mysterious, dreamlike, and often macabre forces that pervaded his sensibility.

His first book, Tamerlane and Other Poems, was published in 1827. He edited Burton's Gentleman's Magazine (1839–40) and Graham's Magazine (1841–42). His criticism, which appeared in these magazines and in the Messenger, was direct and incisive and made him a respected and feared critic. At that time he also began writing mystery stories. The Raven and Other Poems (1845) won him fame as a poet both at home and abroad. Excerpted from Columbia Encyclopedia.

Fun Fact: Edgar Allan Poe is widely credited with inventing detective fiction.

Photo source: Library of Congress

Next: Nancy Davis Reagan, actress and former First Lady (b. 1921)

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