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As his Goodreads bio claims, The real Poe was born to traveling actors in Boston on January 19, 1809. Edgar was the second of three children. His other brother William Henry Leonard Poe would also become a poet before his early death, and Poe’s sister Rosalie Poe would grow up to teach penmanship at a Richmond girls’ school. Within three years of Poe’s birth both of his parents had died, and he was taken in by the wealthy tobacco merchant John Allan and his wife Frances Valentine Allan in Richmond, Virginia while Poe’s siblings went to live with other families. Mr. Allan would rear Poe to be a businessman and a Virginia gentleman, but Poe had dreams of being a writer in emulation of his childhood hero the British poet Lord Byron. Early poetic verses found written in a young Poe’s handwriting on the backs of Allan’s ledger sheets reveal how little interest Poe had in the tobacco business.
As her Goodreads bio claims, Amy Vanderbilt was an American authority on etiquette. In 1952 she published the best selling book Amy Vanderbilt's Complete Book of Etiquette. The book, later retitled Amy Vanderbilt's Etiquette, has been updated and is still in circulation today. The most recent edition was edited by Nancy Tuckerman and Nancy Dunnan. Its longtime popularity has led to it being considered a standard of etiquette writing.
She is also the author or collector of cooking materials, including the 1961 book Amy Vanderbilt's Complete Cook Book illustrated by Andy Warhol.
Vanderbilt descended from either an uncle or brother of Cornelius Vanderbilt and is therefore not an official descendant-member of the Vanderbilt family. She was born in New York City and worked as a part-time reporter for the Staten Island Advance when she was 16. She was educated in Switzerland and at the Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn before attending New York University. She worked in advertising and public relations, and published her famous book after five years of research. From 1954 to 1960 she hosted the television program It's in Good Taste and from 1960 to 1962 she hosted the radio program The Right Thing To Do. She also worked as a consultant for several agencies and organizations, including the U.S. Department of State.
On December 27, 1974, she died from multiple fractures of the skull after falling from a second-floor window in her townhouse on East 87th Street in New York. To this day, it is not clear whether her fall was accidental (most likely due to the medications she took for hypertension, which friends and relatives later said caused her to have severe dizzy spells) or whether she committed suicide.
As his Goodreads bio claims, Herman Melville was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, and poet. His first two books gained much attention, though they were not bestsellers, and his popularity declined precipitously only a few years later. By the time of his death he had been almost completely forgotten, but his longest novel, Moby Dick — largely considered a failure during his lifetime, and most responsible for Melville's fall from favor with the reading public — was rediscovered in the 20th century as one of the chief literary masterpieces of both American and world literature.