Poe Archive Tips
There are a lot of moving parts on Poe Archive, and so we decided to set this page
up to help users get the most out of Poe Archive. While we hope most of the site is self
explanatory, the tips listed here may increase your efficiency exploring the database.
There are two ways to search or filter the database.
At the very top of the website on all pages, there is an input box that says
"Search letters by authors, title, or full text transcripts...". Using this box you can run a search on
the database that will return any letters in which your phrase occurs. This is a ranked search, so results
in which your phrase occurs in the author name will display first, the title second, and finally letters
with the phrase in the transcript will display last.
Filter on Letter, Person, and Series list pages
On the Letter, Person, and Series pages you will notice an additional search box
above the list. This is more akin to a filter, and will allow you to filter the items you
are presented by Author, Recipient, Title, Topic or Date. This filter uses an
approach, so as an example, if you wanted to see only letters that discussed slavery during the 1860s, you could
use a filter string such as
In addition to author and recipient name, title, and date the letter was sent, we have
an additional filter available, by topic. Topics allow the user to filter by broad category. There
are currently five topics, Civil War, Slavery, Colonial, Genealogical, and Historical. While the first
three are self explanatory, the visitor should note that letters deemed "genealogical" are generally
of interest to people search for ancestors and have otherwise little historical significance. The
designation "historical" is reserved for all letters not falling within the first four categories;
this would include those written about notable historical events or by notable historical figures.
Detailed Letter View
Better understanding the detailed letter view.
On the detailed view of all letters, you will notice that the author and recipient names are
both clickable hyperlinks. When you click their name, you will be taken to a page that provides information
such as Birth and Death dates (where known) as well as a list of all letters in the database that the
person wrote or received.
While all letter recipients and authors are hyperlinked, you will notice some have an additional
icon next to their name. This icon means that there is additional
information about that particular person, and quite often, also additional context for the letter
you are viewing. This is where most of the information from "Series" on the original Poe Archive was
relocated to. If you see this icon, its often worth a click.
Many of the letters in the database discuss important events in history. To aid the reader
in better understanding the context, we have tagged certain letters with those historical events. If you
click the name of the event you will be taken to a page that provides additional insight into the event.
Quite often this will be a Wikipedia entry, however in select cases where we feel there may be a more
thorough source you will be taken directly to it.