For Release: Immediately
Department of External Affairs
Free Library of Philadelphia
1901 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710
FAX (215) 567-7850
Contact: Communications and Development
For Release: Immediately
Contact: Communications and Development

Birthday Bash Planned for Edgar Allan Poe's 200th

Parkway Central Library hosts line-up of special performances and rousing debate to honor anniversary of writer’s birthday

PHILADELPHIA, January 7, 2009—Literature lovers and mystery mavens alike are invited to celebrate the 200th birthday of Edgar Allan Poe on Saturday, January 10, 2009 at Parkway Central Library. The birthday bash will honor the famous author behind haunting tales such as The Raven, The Murders in the Rue Morgue, and The Tell-Tale Heart, and Poe fans can catch performances, tour a special exhibit, take home giveaways, and, of course, help blow out the candles on the birthday cake! During a special event on January 13, visitors can watch as representatives from several cities debate which region should be the permanent resting place of Poe.

The special events on Saturday, January 10, include:

An Afternoon with Edgar Allan Poe; 1:00 p.m., Montgomery Auditorium
A performance by renowned Poe impersonator, David Keltz

200th Birthday Celebration; 2:00 p.m., Main Lobby
Cake, giveaways, and fun for the whole family

Poe’s Helen Remembers; 3:00 p.m., Elkins Room, Rare Book Department, 3rd Floor
An intimate portrait of Poe’s fiancée, Helen Whitman, performed by actress and National Park Ranger Helen McKenna-Uff

Continuing the celebration, Parkway Central will host another special event on Tuesday, January 13, at 7:30 p.m. The Great Poe Debate, inspired by Edward Pettit’s 2007 City Paper article, will feature representatives from Boston, Baltimore, and Philadelphia, all cities where Poe resided. The great author is currently laid to rest in Baltimore, but as Pettit argued in his article, Poe crafted some of his most famous works in our city. Participants will debate which city is most worthy of Poe’s remains, with Pettit representing Philadelphia.

Visitors are also encouraged to stop by the Rare Book Department to view Quoth the Raven: A 200 Year Remembrance of the Life and Legacy of Edgar Allan Poe, a special exhibit running through February 13, 2009. Featuring rare and rarely seen autographed manuscripts, first editions, and Poe family heirlooms, the exhibit also features Grip, Charles Dickens’ pet raven and the inspiration for Poe’s most famous poem. The exhibition is supported by the Richard Gimbel Fund for Literary Research, and 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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With more than 6 million visits annually, the Free Library is one of the most widely used educational and cultural institutions in Philadelphia.



Department of External Affairs, Free Library of Philadelphia, 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710, FAX (215) 567-7850