Edgar Allan Poe’s short story Manuscript Found in a Bottle about an ill-fated sailor helped establish the author’s early career, especially in Baltimore, where the piece was published in 1833. The history placing a message in a bottle dates as far back as the 4th century B.C. By the 19th century the practice was well established, and authors like Poe and Charles Dickens helped solidify the allure around this poetic pastime.
Hammond-Harwood House can claim a connection to Poe through Ninian and Amelia Pinkey, who lived in this house from 1806 to1811. Their nephew, Edward Coote Pinkney (1802-1828), was an accomplished poet praised by Edgar Allan Poe, who seldom offered kind words to contemporaries.
Messages in a bottle can serve different purposes–a plea for help, a love note, or a reminder of a certain time or event, suitable for including in a time capsule. Over the last 247 years Hammond-Harwood House has been witness to a revolution, civil war, and pandemics. In 2020 the museum community came together virtually as we lived through a very challenging year.
As we start out the New Year, we invite you to write a virtual message in a bottle using our Contact Us page. The messages will be printed and stored in our archives for future generations to read and get a snapshot of what the museum community was doing during 2020. Participants will receive a special New Year’s Eve e-mail from the museum at the end of 2021.