Poe Toaster steps up to continue the tradition at grave of Edgar Allan Poe

John Tenniel illustration 1858 The Raven

John Tenniel illustration 1858 The Raven

From The Baltimore Sun

Wearing all black with the broad brim of a hat to preserve his anonymity, a man stepped up to Edgar Allan Poe‘s gravesite on Saturday to resurrect the tradition of toasting the long-dead writer on his birthday.

Cineri gloria sera venit, the man said. Fame comes too late to the dead.

For decades, a mysterious figure visited the monument at the Westminster Hall burial ground on West Fayette Street to drink a glass of cognac, in Poe’s honor, and leaving three red roses and the rest of the liquor behind in honor of Poe.

The person or people involved behind the tradition were never unmasked. The tradition ended after 2009, without explanation.

But last year, the Maryland Historical Society organized a competition to pick someone to take up the mantle. The new Poe Toaster, as the office is known, was selected from among candidates who performed tributes anonymously.

His identity has been kept from the public.

Jeff Jerome, the former curator at the Poe House and the guardian of the toaster tradition, said in 2011 that it was time to let the ritual “die a noble death” if the original practitioner did not return.

On Saturday, he said no one could replace the old toaster, but fans were excited to have the chance to see the tribute performed again.

“People have missed the guy,” he said.

Poe was born in Boston on Jan. 19, 1809 — so his actual birthday is Tuesday — but published his first horror story while living in Baltimore and died in the city in 1849, in circumstances that were highly mysterious…..MORE

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2 comments on “Poe Toaster steps up to continue the tradition at grave of Edgar Allan Poe
  1. Avatar Dan Dykstra says:

    This was very interesting. These types of people recognitions are happening more and more around their graveside.

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