The romance between Edgar Allan Poe and Sarah Helen Whitman initiated a wild and distracted story here in Providence, Rhode Island.
It was here that Poe procured two ounces of laudanum as his poison of choice for a poorly attempted suicide. It was also here that Poe sat on two separate occasions to have a daguerreotype taken, one of which would become his favorite likeness of himself, the other becoming his most infamously celebrated portrait to this day. While Poe never did live here, his visits later marked some of the most incredible and unforgettable moments in his biography. His relationship with Sarah Helen Whitman would prove vital, as she became his most staunch defender after his death in 1849, leading up until her own in 1878.
This 1.2 mile tour created by native Rhode Islander and independent Poe scholar Levi L. Leland will guide you through the sites highlighting Poe and Helen’s courtship with special focus on Sarah Helen Whitman and her legacy in Providence.
This tour is FREE of charge and by attending you acknowledge that I am not liable for you in any way as we traverse the hectic streets of Providence. The tour is completely outdoors and we will be following all Covid guidelines in place when the time comes.
The tour begins and concludes outside Sarah Helen Whitman’s home at 88 Benefit Street (it’s the red house on the top corner of Church Street and Benefit Street, overlooking St. John’s Cathedral and adjacent churchyard). Parking is usually easy and widely available along Benefit Street (and is also free on the weekends).
So please, join me, as we walk in the footsteps of Edgar Allan Poe and Sarah Helen Whitman, revisiting their tempestuous courtship here in Providence, Rhode Island.
Please feel free to reach out with any questions!
Here’s the link to the Eventbrite page so you can view the tour dates and secure your spot: