The Edgar Allan Poe Digital Collection is part of the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin.  It includes an impressive array of documents, original manuscripts, photographs, letters, and even furniture, and all of the items are digitized and available online through the Ransom Center Collections.

This collection was launched as a digital accompaniment to the 2009 Poe Bicentennial exhibition, From Out That Shadow: The Life and Legacy of Edgar Allan Poe.  The Ransom Center, which holds many Poe manuscripts and letters, joined forces with the Small Special Collections Library at the University of Virginia, which houses the John Henry Ingraham Poe Collection. These two collections of rare Poe ephemera are combined in the Edgar Allan Poe Digital Collection, where you can find images of Poe’s manuscripts and letters linked to transcriptions by the Poe Society of Baltimore, as well as a wide variety of related archival materials.

Many of the items in the collection were originally collected by William H. Koester (1888-1964), a Baltimore resident who began acquiring first editions in the 1930s, and expanded his collections to include correspondence, books that belonged to Poe, and sheet music for songs based on Poe’s poetry.

On the Edgar Allan Poe Digital Collection homepage, you’ll find these easy ways to browse the collection and find more information:

  • View PDF versions of collection finding aids linked in the home page’s right-hand sidebar, including a descriptive catalog of manuscripts and a comprehensive inventory of the Ransom Center’s Poe collection.
  • Find links to other Poe websites and collections in museums and libraries compiled in a vetted list on the home page’s right-hand sidebar.
  • Browse the collection using the sub-headings listed in the page’s right-hand sidebar.  The gallery below shows off some of the digitized manuscripts and images available and the collections they are drawn from:

The Edgar Allan Poe Digital Collection is a digital goldmine for Poe enthusiasts, students and researchers looking for primary sources, and writers and artists who want to dig deeper into Poe’s life and work and see original, hand-written poems.

For librarians, the collection is a fabulous resource as well:  the homepage not only includes the finding aids and links mentioned above, but also sports a Public Domain logo explaining that all items in the collection are free of copyright restrictions, and can be used freely!

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