Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Company, 1925. 1st Edition. Large octavo, publisher's black cloth over black and gold patterned boards, spine gilt, uncut and partially unopened.
"I am in the greatest necessity not having tasted food since yesterday morning. I have no where to sleep at night, but roam about the streets–I am nearly exhausted..." First edition of this collection of letters between Poe and his foster-father John Allan, with whom the writer shared a singularly fraught relationship. Allan, a Richmond businessman, took in the orphaned infant Poe as an act of charity. Though a responsible and caring father, he remained conflicted in his feelings for Poe, who grew to be an arrogant and shiftless young man. Money was a perennial source of angst between them, with Poe constantly in need, and Allan steadfastly parsimonious. "It is a tragedy to make many a father's heart ache as he reads it...and to fill many a son with regretful wonder" (from the introduction by editor Stanard, who provides context for many of the letters). Illustrated with facsimiles of all 31 letters (27 from Poe to Allan, two from Allan to Poe, one from Poe's aunt Maria Clemm to Allan, and one from Poe to a creditor), 15 black-and-white photos and reproductions, and three facsimiles of Poe's boarding school bills. Number 456 of 1550 copies. Purple 3¢ Poe stamp laid in (US#986, issued 1949). Rubbing to bottom edges, else fresh and fine. A beautiful production. Item #454