Located on Benefit Street just a short distance from the home of Sarah Helen Whitman, the Providence Athenaeum was founded in 1836. It operated as a member-funded library open to the public, and continues to do so. The library served as a place for Helen and Poe to court, and as a sanctuary for the couple to have their privacy from Helen’s mother, the disdaining Anna Marsh Power.
It was here that Helen received an anonymous note telling her of Poe’s broken promise of sobriety that ultimately ended their short engagement in December, 1848.
You can visit their website at providenceathenaeum.org for further details and membership information as well as their hours of operation.