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Mary Elizabeth Phillips correspondence with Robert Kegerries

 Collection — Container: MS 4003
Call Number: MS 4003

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of fifty-nine letters written by Mary Elizabeth Phillips to Robert Kegerries, an actor who adapted and performed Poe’s The Tale Tell Heart on stage over one hundred times. Phillips wanted to publish a biography of Poe that would portray an accurate account of the author’s life, and the letters chronicle her research process. Whenever he was asked, Kegerries loaned Phillips items from his personal collection, conducted research, and served as a reader.

Phillips’ first step was to seek out the facts about Poe’s ancestry, and to learn about his childhood, military career, and other major events, particularly his marriage to Virginia Clemm. The correspondence contains many references to her search for primary and secondary sources which included letters, portraits, and photographs of the Poe ancestral home in Scotland. In 1917, she read an original unabridged manuscript of The Raven.

Another major component of Phillips’ research was travel. She frequently went to Boston, New York City, and Philadelphia. In those places she visited libraries and private organizations that held a wealth of resources about Poe. In 1916 when she was in Boston and in possession of Kegerries’ newspaper clippings collection, she entrusted the items to the Boston Public Library for safekeeping and would go there daily to look at the papers.

Phillips’ efforts culminated in 1926 when she published Edgar Allan Poe, the Man.


  • 1915-1926
  • Majority of material found in 1915-1917


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Items in this collection may be subject to copyright restrictions. The Boston Public Library does not hold copyright on the material in this collection. Researchers are responsible for identifying and contacting the persons or organizations that hold copyright.

When reproducing material from this collection please include the credit line "Courtesy of the Trustees of the Boston Public Library/ Rare Books."

Biographical or Historical Information


1915 - Phillips contacts "The Players" in New York City, requesting to see their Poe collection. Is referred to Robert Kegerries, the renowned Poe dramatist.

1917 - Reads an original manuscript of The Raven. Illness delays work on book. Attempts to reprint S. A. Weis’ The House Life of Poe, but is threatened with legal action by friends of the author.

1926 - Publishes Edgar Allan Poe, the Man.


59.00 Items

Language of Materials



This collection documents the research conducted by Mary Elizabeth Phillips from 1915-1917, when she was writing her biography about Edgar Allan Poe. The majority of the correspondence is to Robert Kegerries, the renowned Poe dramatist.

Arrangement Note

Arranged chronogically.

Method of Acquisition


Related Materials

Rufus Griswold Collection – MS Gris

Mary Elizabeth Phillips Correspondence – MS Am. 1200

Processing Information

Finding aid prepared by Emmalia Harrington, May 2009.
Mary Elizabeth Phillips correspondence with Robert Kegerries
Emmalia Harrington, May 2009
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

About this library

Part of the Boston Public Library Archives & Special Collections Repository

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Boston MA 02116 United States