Fodor's Expert Review Providence Athenaeum
Philadelphia architect William Strickland designed this 1838 Greek Revival library building in which Edgar Allan Poe courted the poet (and avid reader) Sarah Helen Whitman; the collection here includes a Poe-signed periodical containing "Ulalume," a poem he published anonymously. An 1870s Manet print that illustrated Poe's "The Raven" hangs in the rare book room, which also contains two medieval illuminated manuscripts. Raven signs are posted at eight points of interest on a self-guided library tour. Among them is a special cabinet modeled after an Egyptian temple, which houses the library's multivolume imperial edition of Description de l'Egypte (1809–22), commissioned by Napoléon.