The Next "Poe Toaster"

The Next "Poe Toaster"
MD Historical Society, Poe Baltimore and Westminster Hall & Burying
Ground Issue A Call For Submissions,
With a New Twist

Contact: Laura Rodini 410-685-3750 Ext. 322

Click to Enlarge: For Complete Details visit
BALTIMORE, October 6, 2015 - In honor of the 166th anniversary of the death of Edgar Allan Poe (19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849), the Maryland Historical Society is revitalizing the tradition of the "Poe Toaster." The concept previously took place by an unidentified person in tribute to Baltimore's most beloved literary son but ceased mysteriously in 2009. Partnering with Poe Baltimore, Westminster Hall and Burying Ground, and The Mesmeric Revelations! Of Edgar Allan Poe, the organizations are issuing a joint call to revive the tradition by seeking submissions from artists to perform as their own original vision and interpretation of the "Poe Toaster".

"Our intention is not to duplicate the mystery of the "Poe Toaster," but rather to honor this tradition in a new and modern way," says Maryland Historical Society Director of Programs & Strategic Initiatives Katie Caljean. "Baltimore holds a special place in its heart for Edgar Allan Poe. We feel it's time to revive this tradition, and add to it, in a respectful way that produces a new icon for our city."

About The Competition

Artists are encouraged to submit applications by email with their proposed performance details to the Maryland Historical Society (details below). Selected finalists will then perform at the Maryland Historical Society, located at 201 W. Monument Street, Baltimore, MD 21201, in the evening on Saturday, November 7, 2015. Local celebrity judges will provide commentary on the performance, but it will be up to the audience to ultimately decide who will be the next "Poe Toaster." This event is FREE to attend; register here.

The newly dubbed "Poe Toaster" gets to perform the toast that won him/her the honor at Poe's gravesite at Westminster Burying Ground for his birthday in January 2016, as well as at other events throughout the city during the year.

"Westminster is delighted to assist in celebrating Edgar Allan Poe on his 207th birthday," says Mary Jo Rodney of Westminster Hall. "The revival of the "Poe Toaster" honors the legacy of Poe in Baltimore. We expect that this new tradition will heighten not only interest in Poe, but his connection to historic Westminster Burying Ground and the City of Baltimore."

Submission Rules:

Contestants should submit a 75-100 word description of his or her proposed performance, plus any supporting materials such as videos, storyboards, drawings, etc. Singular performances, rather than group acts, are encouraged.

Submissions are due no later than October 23, 2015. Participants must be 18 years or older.

Applications should be submitted to
Be sure to include:
1. A performance description,
2. A phone number and email address, and
3. Either your name or an alias. This competition wishes to follow the tradition of anonymity exhibited by the original "Poe Toaster" and encourages the use of an alias.
For complete rules visit


On October 31, the finalists will be announced at Poe Baltimore's Black Cat Ball at Mobtown Ballroom, the annual Halloween Tour at Westminster Burying Ground and posted to the Maryland Historical Society's website and Facebook page. The 10-12 finalists will perform in front of a panel of 3 judges and a live audience at the Maryland Historical Society on November 7.

Bonus Opportunities

On the night of the competition, audience members will have the opportunity to enter a raffle to win 1 of 4 additional spots on stage to perform in front of the live audience and celebrity judges, and potentially be named Baltimore's Next "Poe Toaster".

All audience members will be given a ballot to vote for their favorite "Poe Toaster," and the winner of the competition will be announced that evening.

How To Attend the November 7 Competition at The Maryland Historical Society:

Doors will open at 8:30 PM, and performers will take the stage at 9:30 PM. There will be FREE admission to watch the competition, plus a cash bar/all you can drink wristband for $20. Register/Get Drink Tickets now by clicking here.

The Winner

Baltimore's Next "Poe Toaster" will be expected to perform for Poe's birthday in January 2016, and will be heralded throughout the city in 2016.

Edgar Allan Poe-Related Events This Week

A call for submissions for the next "Poe Toaster" will be announced at artistic events in tribute to Edgar Allan Poe all week. The media is encouraged to participate in these events and capture costumed performers in action:

**Preview Performances of Mesmeric Revelations! Of Edgar Allan Poe, begins Friday, October 9 at 8pm. Taking place in the historic Enoch Pratt House (201 W. Monument Street, Mount Vernon), the two-hour show invites an audience of 26 to explore a Poe-inspired world. Audience members interact with the sets, choose which characters to follow, uncover their stories, and come away with a unique experience to discuss with others. The performance was recently featured in Forbes magazine, and tickets are going fast; learn more here.

**Edgar Allan Poe's 'Death Tribute,' Hosted by Jeff Jerome, Curator Emeritus, formerly with the Poe House, on Saturday, October 10 at 3:30pm. Taking place at the Poe Monument at Westminster Burying Ground, this FREE & unique tribute to Poe will feature popular actors Tony Tsendeas and Don Mullins, who will perform dramatic readings (excerpts) from many of Poe's most famous tales of horror, terror and science fiction. These tales include: The Fall of the House of Usher, Berenice, The Black Cat, The Premature Burial, Some Words With a Mummy, Liegia, The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Tell Tale Heart and many more!

In addition, several obituaries to Poe will be presented, characters from Mesmeric Revelations! Of Edgar Allan Poe will be present, and a wreath laying ceremony will conclude the tribute. Visitors are invited to bring their own flowers and wreaths for the ceremony. For complete details, visit this link.

About The Original "Poe Toaster"

Poe Toaster Life Magazine
An infrared image of the Original "Poe Toaster", taken by Bill Ballenberg, which appeared in Life Magazine
Beginning in the 1940s, a mysterious individual began visiting Edgar Allan Poe's original gravesite at Westminster Hall every year on the author's birthday, January 19th. Later dubbed the "Poe Toaster," the man began a tradition in which he would sneak into the cemetery at night while dressed in black clothing, a hat, and a white scarf.

Upon arriving at Poe's grave, the toaster would place 3 roses beside it with a bottle of cognac. The roses are believed to be in memory of the three individuals buried at the site of the Poe Monument: Poe, his wife Virginia, and his mother-in-law Maria Clemm. After toasting Poe, the man would then place the bottle next to the grave before disappearing into the night. Sadly, the "Poe Toaster" has not appeared since 2009.

About Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe, courtesy Wikipedia
Edgar Allan Poe may have been born in Boston in 1809, but he died in Baltimore, under mysterious circumstances, on October 7, 1849. And it was in Baltimore that Poe found his first critical success, by winning a short story contest sponsored by the Baltimore Sunday Visiter in 1833. Baltimore was also where Poe was living when he published his first horror story, "Berenice," in 1835.

"Poe very well could have walked past the Enoch Pratt House while he was living in Baltimore," Letzer adds, "He is an important part of the fabric of our city."

About The Maryland Historical Society

Founded in 1844, The Maryland Historical Society Museum and Library occupies an entire city block in the Mount Vernon district of Baltimore. The society's mission is to "collect, preserve, and interpret the objects and materials that reflect Maryland's diverse cultural heritage." The Society is home to the original manuscript of the Star-Spangled Banner and publishes a quarterly titled "Maryland Historical Magazine." Visit

For more details, contact Marketing Director Laura Rodini at or by phone: 410-685-3750 ext. 322.


Founded in 1844, The Maryland Historical Society Museum and Library occupies an entire city block in the Mount Vernon district of Baltimore. The society's mission is to "collect, preserve, and interpret the objects and materials that reflect Maryland's diverse cultural heritage." The Society is home to the original manuscript of the Star-Spangled Banner and publishes a quarterly titled "Maryland Historical Magazine." The Society is located at 201 W. Monument Street and open to the public Wednesday-Saturday from 10 am-5 pm, and Sunday (museum only) 12 pm-5 pm.