Frances Allan

Color image of a torso-length portrait of a young woman with dark hair pulled up on top of her head.
This portrait of Frances Valentine Allan is attributed to Robert Matthew Sully.

Courtesy of the Edgar Allan Poe Museum, Richmond, Virginia

Quick Facts
Foster Mother to Edgar Allan Poe
Place of Birth:
Richmond, Virginia
Date of Birth:
February 14, 1784
Place of Death:
Richmond, Virginia
Date of Death:
February 28, 1829
Place of Burial:
Richmond, Virginia
Cemetery Name:
Shockoe Hill Cemetery

The beautiful and “much admired Miss Fanny Valentine” married John Allan in 1803. A Richmond socialite, Frances enjoyed attending the theater where she saw Edgar’s mother perform on stage. The Allans had no children of their own. When Edgar was orphaned by his mother’s death from tuberculosis, Fanny brought Edgar into her home. The Allans raised and educated Edgar as if he were their own son. She was devoted to him and he to her.


My Dear Hubby

Frances Allan to John Allan, October 15, 1818, Dawlish, England. The Allans and Edgar lived in England at this time. Mrs. Allan was on a holiday.

My dear hubby

Your kind letter of the 13 was received this morning and you will perceive I have lost no time in replying to it, however pleasant a duty it may be I fear it will be long ere I shall write with any facility or ease to myself , as I fiend you are determined to think my health better contrary to all I say it will be needless for me to say more on that subject but be assure I embrace every opportunity that offers for takeing air and exercises but at this advanced seasons of the year we cant expect the weather to be very good I am this moment interupted with a message from Mrs. Dunlop requesting I would accompany her in a ride which I shall accept the Carriage is now at the door

Friday morning October 16

we had a very long and pleasant ride we started at two o’clock and did not return until six the day was remarkably fine we had a beautyfull view of the surrounding Cuntry we had a smart Beau with us who arrived here from London a few days ago I was very much pressed to go to the ball last night and nothing prevented me from going but the want of a little finery so you and the Doctor may lay aside some of your consequence for I really think you have a great deal of Vanity to immagien you are the cause of ally my misery, I only wish my health would admit of my entering into all the gaieties of this place I would soon let you see I could be as happy and contented without you as you appear to be in my absence as I hear of nothing but partyes at home and abroad but long may the Almighty grant my dear husband health and spirits to enjoy them
now I must request my dear hubby to get me a nice piece of sheeting and a piece of shirting Cotton as they will be much wanted when I return tell Nancy she must get Abbatt to put up the tester and drapery to my bed and the parlour window Curtains to have the bedroom floors well cleaned before the Carpets are put down Miss G is very well and joins me in kind love to you the girls the Doctor Mrs. Rennolds & all friends and believe me my

dear old man yours truly

Frances K. Allan

Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site

Last updated: September 27, 2017