"For Annie" was written for Nancy Richmond (whom Poe called Annie) of Lowell, Massachusetts. Richmond was a married woman and Poe developed a strong platonic, though complicated, relationship with her. The poem was first set to be published on April 28, 1849 in the journal Flag of our Union, which Poe said was a "paper for which sheer necessity compels me to write." Fearing its publication there would consign it "to the tomb of the Capulets," he sent it to Nathaniel Parker Willis for publication in the Home Journal on the same day as Flag of Our Union. The poem talks about an illness from which Richmond helped Poe recover. It speaks about "the fever called 'Living'" that has been conquered, ending his "moaning and groaning" and his "sighing and sobbing." In a letter dated March 23, 1849, Poe sent the poem he wrote to Richmond saying, "I think the lines 'For Annie' (those I now send) much the best I have ever written."
Nancy Richmond would officially change her name to Annie after her husband's death in 1873.