PHILADELPHIA, October 1, 2008—On Wednesday, October 1, 2008, the Free Library of Philadelphia begins a celebration of Edgar Allan Poe with an exhibition from the Colonel Richard Gimbel Collection. Commemorating the 200th birthday of the famed author, Quoth the Raven: A 200 Year Remembrance of the Life and Legacy of Edgar Allan Poe will be featured in the Rare Book Department at Parkway Central Library.
Running through February 13, 2009, the exhibition features rare and rarely seen autographed manuscripts, first editions, and Poe family heirlooms. Among the manuscripts are The Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Raven, Annabel Lee, and For Annie. Printed pieces include first edition of Tamerlane (1827) and The Balloon Hoax (1844). Visitors can also view Grip, Charles Dickens’ pet raven and the inspiration for Poe’s most famous poem.
To honor Poe’s January 19 birthday, Parkway Central Library will host events. On Saturday, January 10 at 1:00 p.m., actor David Keltz will perform his interpretation of Poe in Parkway Central’s Montgomery Auditorium. Later that day, at 3:00 p.m., actress Helen McKenna-Uff will perform “Poe’s Helen Remembers," an intimate look at Poe and his fiancée Helen Whitman, in the Elkins Room. From 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., the Rare Book Department will be open for special Saturday hours. On Tuesday, January 13 at 7:30 p.m., Parkway Central Library will host “The Great Poe Debate.” Inspired by Edward Pettit’s 2007 article in the City Paper, “We’re Taking Poe Back” and recently covered by the New York Times, representatives from cities where Poe resided will debate which city is most worthy of Poe’s remains. Pettit will represent Philadelphia.
The free exhibition will be on display from Wednesday, October 1, 2008 through Friday, February 13, 2009. The Rare Book Department is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on weekdays and holds tours at 11 a.m.
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The Free Library of Philadelphia system consists of 49 branches, three regional libraries, the Parkway Central Library, and the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. With more than six million visits annually, the Free Library is one of the most widely-used educational and cultural institutions in Philadelphia.