• Born: 19 January 1809
  • Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts
  • Died: 7 October 1849
  • Best Known As: Author of "The Raven"

Edgar Allan Poe's classic poem "The Raven" cemented his reputation as a black-feathered literary master of the macabre. In the late 1820s and early 1830s Poe mixed poetry with work as a soldier in the U.S. Army. He was dismissed from West Point and moved to Baltimore, Maryland, where he began writing prose. Throughout the 1830s and 1840s Poe worked on various magazines in Richmond, Philadelphia and New York, and also published creepy short stories and poems, including "The Purloined Letter," "The Tell-Tale Heart" and "The Cask of Amontillado." His story The Murders in the Rue Morgue is widely considered to be the first modern detective story, with Poe the forerunner of later masters of the craft like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie. Never in robust health, and a heavy drinker into the bargain, Poe died under mysterious circumstances at age 40 after visiting Virginia to lecture. He was found languishing on the street in Baltimore and taken unconscious to a local hospital, where he died.

Poe's detective in The Murders in the Rue Morgue was named C. Auguste Dupin... Baltimore's National Football League team, the Ravens, is named in whimsical tribute to Poe's famous poem... Since the 100th anniversary of Poe's death in 1949, an anonymous visitor has come to Poe's grave each year on the writer's birthday, leaving three roses and a bottle of cognac. By tradition no one attempts to follow the "Poe Toaster" and his identity remains unknown. However, it is presumed others have taken over for the original visitor... Poe wrote an 1836 essay unmasking the chess-playing automaton The Turk as a human-powered fraud.