Although he is one of the world's most popular authors who continues to thrill and chill readers of all ages, Edgar Allan Poe's life is as enigmatic as his sudden, unexplained death.
In a quest for solutions to the mysteries surrounding the poet's life and work, a group of Poe devotees founded the Poe Shrine in 1922. This body included the world's most prolific Poe collector, a psychiatrist who believed Poe was clairvoyant, and the grandson of Poe's worst enemy.
Within four years of the Shrine's opening, one of the founders had committed suicide, another was committed to a mental hospital, and a third had been banned from ever entering the Shrine again.
Somehow, over the course of 95 years, their museum has managed to assemble to world's finest collection of Poe artifacts and memorabilia featuring the author's boyhood bed, clothing, walking stick, and hair clipped from his head after his death.
Drawing on the museum's archives, The Poe Shrine tells the story of these coveted objects, the people who collected them, and the institution that serves as their repository.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
The Curator of the Edgar Allan Poe Museum in Richmond, Christopher P. Semtner has written, co-written, or edited several books about Edgar Allan Poe, art, popular culture, and history. He has provided articles for Biography.com, Crime Writers' Chronicles, The Edgar Allan Poe Review, and Resources for American Literary Studies. Semtner regularly speaks to groups around the United States about Poe, visual art, horror, and dark history and has been interviewed for documentaries airing on PBS, C-Span, BBC4, Military History Channel, and other networks. An award-winning, internationally exhibited visual artist, Semtner has works in public collections including the Virginia Historical Society, the City of Baltimore, and the University of Maryland. He has also curates exhibits for museums, libraries, and art centers across the country with his most recent exhibit dealing with the scientific analysis of Edgar Allan Poe's hair.