Posted by: Kirsten | Monday, 3 December 2007

Planning a Field Trip to Edgar Allan Poe

PoeIf you’re planning a multi-family educational trip to the Poe home in Philadelphia, an NPS teacher handbook has been designed especially for teachers who schedule ranger led programs at the site, although self-guided tours of the site are also an option. The materials and information included are a result of specific suggestions made by teachers who have participated in previous programs. Many teachers requested background information on Poe’s life, his literary career, and the sources of inspiration for his works. Primary sources of information, such as letters and contemporary journal articles, have been included whenever possible to provide an authentic voice to the life and times of Edgar Allan Poe.Poe & Raven sketch

The handbook is divided into sections pertaining to aspects of Poe’s life and family, and his literary works. All the material may be useful as background information to the teacher. However, some of the material may be adapted for use in classroom activities for students at the 8th grade and higher levels. Suggested classroom activities are noted in the Table of Contents. A bibliography of the sources used are included at the end of each section.

Edgar Allan Poe resided in Philadelphia between the years of 1838 and 1844. The years Poe lived in Philadelphia were his most productive and probably happiest years of his life. He wrote some of his most famous and influential works during this period, including “The Fall of the House of Usher,” the first modern detective story “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” and the horror tale “The Tell-Tale Heart.”

Of the several Philadelphia homes Poe lived in, this national historic site is the only one that survives. It serves as a tangible link with Poe and his life in the city. Poe rented the house sometime in early 1843. During the year or more he lived in the house, he published his popular mystery “The Gold Bug,” his time travel story “A Tale of the Ragged Mountains,” and the horror stories “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Black Cat.” The cellar of the house resembles the one depicted in “The Black Cat.”

Extensive research and investigation of the house have revealed how the exterior of the property appeared, but there is little information to show what the interior of the house looked like when it served as Poe’s residence. Whatever furnishings the Poes used have disappeared without a trace. The interior of the historic home remains unfurnished.

The house was preserved through the efforts of Richard Gimbel who purchased the site in 1933, and maintained it as a museum. After Gimbel’s death in 1970, the property was donated to the City of Philadelphia. The city donated the site to the National Park Service in 1978. In recognition of Edgar Allan Poe’s contribution to American literature, the National Park Service protects and preserves his Philadelphia home for the enjoyment of present and future generations.

NPS Resources:

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  1. […] Planning a Field Trip to Edgar Allen Poe Nat’l Historic Site (HSR) […]

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