Friday, June 13, 2014

Friday the 13th

On this unique day, being it is Friday the 13th as well as there being a full moon scheduled for tonight, I figured it was detrimental that I would write on a key that has a unique history because of its owner and the origin.

Edgar Allan Poe has been and probably will be one of the most influential and famous authors from the American Romantic Movement in the first half of the 19th century. Born in January of 1809, Poe was soon orphaned by an abandoning father and a mother who died of unknown causes by the time he was two years old. He was then taken in, but not ever officially adopted, by John and Frances Allan. Although he lived with them and was raised by them, John Allan and Poe constantly fought about debts that came from gambling and for the secondary education of Poe.

And this is where the uniqueness of the key of this particular blog comes from. We have in our possession at the Baldpate Inn, the key to the dorm room where Edgar Allan Poe resided during his first and only semester at the University of Virginia in 1826. He was only able to attend for one semester due to the money issues with his “adopted” father, but during his time, he seemed to make an impression on the University of Virginia. The Raven Society, a tribute and historical group to Poe and his writings, has preserved Poe’s dorm room at the University of Virginia, room number 13 on the West Range. In fact, the entire building has been marked as a historic site.

Now after Edgar Allan Poe left the University of Virginia, he joined the army and eventually went to West Point after the death of his “adopted” mother although he failed out and became fully convinced that he wanted to be a poet and a writer. After this confirmation he went on to publish the wide variation of short stories and novels that many have heard of through our various English and Literature classes. Some of the more famous works of Edgar Allan Poe that seem to fit with the significance of Friday the 13th and the mysteries and superstitions that seem to accompany it are The Raven, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Masque of the Red Death, and even The Black Cat.

While there are some that are still very superstitious, I hope that this post doesn’t sway anyone from going about your normal routines today. Yet, I would ask that if anyone does have any spare time today, maybe read a tale or two from Edgar Allan Poe and not only enjoy the slight chill that may crawl up your spine as you read it, but also the literary abilities and works that Poe was able to add to literature. I leave you all with a final quote from one of the happier of Poe’s writings, Eleonora, “Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things that escape those who dream only at night.”

Until next time,


Baldpate Key Room Curator