Elizabeth Arnold Hopkins Poe was born in 1787 in London to Henry and Elizabeth Arnold. After her father died in 1789, she and her mother moved to Boston, MA on January 3, 1796. Elizabeth took after her mother's talent and interest in theater and made her debut in a play at age 9. She joined a theater troupe called the Charleston Comedians. Her talents included acting, dancing, and singing. After her mother presumably died, she remained with the troupe and traveled from city to city. At 15, in 1802, she married actor Charles Hopkins. He died in 1805, and Elizabeth then married David Poe, Jr. from Baltimore, MD in 1806. Elizabeth and David performed throughout the northeast and settled in Boston. Elizabeth was well-liked and performed well, while David on the other hand, was not successful. They had two sons and a daughter: William Henry Leonard, Edgar (Edgar Allan Poe), and Rosalie. David, however, left the stage and his family due to critical reviews of his performance and pressures. Elizabeth left for Virginia, where she performed without much success. In August 1811, she fell ill with tuberculosis, and died on December 1811 at age 24 in Richmond, VA. David died of the same disease within days. They left their children, ages 3 to 1, who were then split into different families.
The collection consists of a photographic print of a miniature portrait, ca. 1811, of English-born actress, 1787-1811, who was the mother of American poet and literary critic, Edgar Allen Poe.
Gift of C. Alphonso Smith
Encoded by Mark Custer, March 25, 2008
Processed by Aleck Tan, February 2020
Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.