He always wore a black frock-coat buttoned up, with a cadet or military collar, and a black cravat tied in a loose knot. He did not follow fashions, but had a style of his own. His was a loose way of dressing, as if he didn‘t care.
Whitman daguerrotype: Edgar Allen Poe

Whitman daguerrotype: Edgar Allen Poe

Poe's silk vest, courtesy of Poe Museum, Richmond, VA.

Poe’s silk vest, courtesy of Poe Museum, Richmond, VA.

In dress he was remarkably neat and tidy, and, had his means permitted, he, no doubt, would have prided himself in his neatness. This was the result rather of his proficiency in the true knowledge of the Aesthetics of dress, than in any foppish admiration which he might have entertained for what may be called finery.When I first became acquainted with him, he used to carry a crooked-headed hickory walking-cane in his hand whenever we went out to walk. . . . This he flourished, as he walked, with considerable grace — particularly so when compared with a man who had never been in the habit of carrying a cane” Chivers, Life of Poe. 


 The citation above is taken from an article for Harper’s Magazine written by Augustus Van Cleef who purports to write of an affair between Poe and one Mary Starr Jenkins. I leave it to Poe scholars to sort out the veracity of the affair. Our interest is in Poe’s dress, nicely documented in the two daguerrotypes.  Note Poe’s peculiar way of buttoning his vests. I’m grateful to the Poe Museum for furnishing me with the images for this post. 

Tagged with →  
Share →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.