Elizabeth Arnold Poe, mother of American literary icon Edgar Allan Poe, was an English-born actress who first debuted on stage at the age of 9. Born in 1787, she married Baltimore native, David Poe Jr., a travelling actor who performed in Elizabeth's troupe.
A praised young actress who performed in reputable theatres across New York and Philadelphia, among others, Elizabeth Arnold Poe died of tuberculosis at the age of 24. She is buried in St. John's Episcopal Church in Richmond, Va. Edgar Allan Poe, her second son, was under the age of 3 when Elizabeth died. Some scholars suggest that the early loss of his mother inspired the dark, melancholy themes often found in his work.