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"My Deborah Lee" poem

 Collection — Folder: S2126
Identifier: S2126

Scope and Contents

This collection contains a page from an edition of Frank Leslie's Budget of Fun circa 1860s. The page has printed material on both sides, including the poem, "My Deborah Lee," a parody of Edgar Allan Poe's "Annabel Lee" that was reprinted from the Cincinnati Commercial with no author credited. The poem has a couple lines that refer to Indiana: "That a nice girl live, as ye Hoosiers know," and "With a love that the lasses of Hoosierdom". Other stories and articles include "My First Scrap as an Amateur Actor," the poem "Free Love" by H.C. Watson, "Our Boarding House. Mrs. Tidgers," "The poets Home," and "Footlight Flashes: The Stage Doorkeeper" by William Davidge, comedian.


  • circa 1860s

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Historical Note

Frank Leslie (1821-1880) was born in Ipswich, Suffolk, England and was originally known as Henry Carter. He became an illustrator and journalist and legally changed his name to Frank Leslie in 1857. He founded a number of publications, most notably Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper. The first edition of Frank Leslie's Budget of Fun was published in January 1859. Issued the first of each month, the paper was advertised as the "Greatest Funny Paper Ever Issued," contained nearly 100 engravings, and was filled with humourous stories, anecdotes, jokes, and political satire. The sixteen-page paper initially sold for six cents a copy.

The poem, "Deborah Lee," is a parody of Edgar Allan Poe's "Annabel Lee." The August 10, 1853 edition of the Raleigh Register (North Carolina) published the satirical poem and noted that it originally appeared in Dodge's Literary Museum . Reprinted in various newspapers over the years, the author was sometimes identified as "Fuzzy Guzzy." The poem was later credited to William H. Burleigh (1812-1871). It was printed in Frank Leslie's Budget of Fun as "My Deborah Lee."


Burleigh, William H. "Deborah Lee." In The World's Best Poetry, Volume IX: Of Tragedy: of Humour, edited by Bliss Carman, 401-402. Philadelphia: John D. Morris and Company, 1904.

"Just Out: The Best Comic Paper!"The New York Times, February 3, 1859.

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. "Frank Leslie." Encyclopædia Britannica. Accessed January 5, 2021.

West, Richard S. "Budget of Fun." Illustrated Civil War Newspapers and Magazines. Accessed January 5, 2021.


0.01 Cubic Feet (1 folder)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged by subject.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a records transfer from the Indiana Division in 1979.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2021/01/05 by Laura Eliason. EAD finding aid created 2021/01/05 by Laura Eliason.
"My Deborah Lee" poem
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 U.S.A.