4. “The Tell-Tale Heart”

Poe-Tell Tale Heart-Philadelpia-Untapped Cities-Alexandra Harbet

While most of Poe’s historical documents in Philadelphia can be found in The Free Library, the 1843 publication of The Pioneer sits proudly on display in the Edgar Allan Poe House. The magazine is flipped to Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart,” which he published while living in Philadelphia. Poe’s original publications are hard to come by given how long ago they were published. Original manuscripts are even rarer and in many cases, no longer exist.

Back in the 1800s, it was common for printers to throw out original manuscripts after they were printed for publication. Poe’s “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” almost suffered that fate but was saved by a printer’s devil (a printing apprentice) at Graham’s Magazine at the last minute. J. M. Johnston requested to keep the manuscript and fished it out of the trash without knowing that his effort would help preserve a famous writer’s legacy. Because of the passion of an apprentice in the 1840s, an original manuscript of the first detective story exists in the Richard Gimbel Collection of Edgar Allan Poe in the Free Library’s Rare Books Department.