The Eaton Portrait

Herman Melville JOEaton 95ppi 250wBy permission of Houghton Library, Harvard University: 61Z-4

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Melville Society Cultural Project

Melville Society and New Bedford Whaling Museum Cultural Project The New Bedford Whaling Museum in collaboration with The Melville Society is the established home of the Melville Society Cultural Project and Melville Society Archive. The Melville Society Archive is housed at the New Bedford Whaling Museum's Research Library, where significant works from this collection are also on display. The Melville Society Cultural Project also sponsors a book donation program and presents exciting annual events including the Moby-Dick Marathon and a Birthday Lecture.

Detailed Container List

BOX 1: Melville (60 Folders)

1: Folder 1

Agee, Mrs. James (Mia Fritsch), correspondence with Jay Leyda 1955: (1 item)

Included is a thank you card referring to Leyda’s note of sympathy regarding James Agee’s death.


1: Folder 2

Allen, Gay Wilson, correspondence with Jay Leyda 1955: (2 items)

Concerns research regarding Walt Whitman.

undated                     Dec-1955 estimated            (draft from Leyda)


1: Folder 3

Aschaffenburg, Walter, correspondence with Jay Leyda 1954-1955: (3 items)

Walter Aschaffenburg (1927-2005) was a famous composer. Born in Germany, he immigrated to America with his parents at a young age . One of his greatest achievements was his 1964 opera, “Bartleby,” for which Jay Leyda wrote the libretto.


06-Feb-1955             (also an enclosure: plans for Artistic Creation of “Bartleby”)


1: Folder 4

Barbarow, George, correspondence with Jay Leyda 1952-1954: (3 items)

Refers to The Melville Log; some mention of Soviet Film and Emily Dickinson.




1: Folder 5

Batchelder, Charles F., Jr., correspondence with Jay Leyda 1951: (1 item)

Primarily relates to The Melville Log.

09-Jul-1951   (* with notes from Leyda on back)

1: Folder 6

Bennett Book Studios (Whitman Bennett), correspondence with Jay Leyda 1947: (2 items)

Refers to a proposal regarding the publication of selected Melville poems.

undated         Jun-1947 estimated (draft from Leyda)


1: Folder 7

The Berkshire Athenaeum, Pittsfield, MA (Robert Newman), correspondence with Jay Leyda

1954: (3 items): Regards the proposal of “A Bulletin from the Melville Room.”

undated         Sep-1954 estimated (1st draft from Leyda: partial letter from Gordon Williams on back of p.2.;

         note from Leon Howard 22-Dec-1952 on back of p.3)

undated         Sep-1954 estimated (2nd draft from Leyda)


1: Folder 8

Bezanson, Walter, correspondence with The Melville Society 2006: (1 item)

Friend and Melville scholar who studied under Stanley T. Williams at Yale.  Donation of Jay Leyda Papers to Melville Society Archive.


1: Folder 9

Birss, John, correspondence with Jay Leyda 1945: (2 items)

Relates to The Melville Log.



1: Folder 10

Blitzstein, Marc, correspondence with Jay Leyda 1954: (3 items)

Primarily relates to the libretto for “Bartleby.”

25-Oct-1954              (a few notes from Leyda)



1: Folder 11

CBS Radio (George Crothers), correspondence with Jay Leyda 1953: (2 items)

Relates to Leyda’s suggestions regarding CBS Radio’s Invitation to Learning, a series on biographies.

undated                     Jan-1953 estimated (draft by Leyda)

30-Jan-1953             (also contains a draft of a reply from Leyda)

1: Folder 12

Criscitiello, John J., correspondence with Jay Leyda 1955: (2 items)

Regards Horsford’s edition of Melville’s Journal of a Visit to Europe and the Levant.

22-Jan-1955                         (from Leyda)


1: Folder 13

Davis, Merrell Rees, correspondence with Jay Leyda date unknown: (1 item)

Merrell R. Davis(? – 1961)was one of the many prominent Melville scholars of the mid 1900s who studied at Yale University under Stanley T. Williams. Davis is most well known for his Melville's Mardi: A Chartless Voyage (Yale University Press 1952). He was a Professor of American Literature at The University of Washington from 1947 until his death in 1961. Leyda requested inter-library loan of Merrell’s Yale dissertation and received a reply indicating he would have to foster information on how it would be used prior to consent. Leyda’s subsequent, sarcastic rebuttal is only a draft. It is not known if Leyda ever sent the rebuttal to Davis.

undated – most likely prior to the 1951 publication of The Melville Log (draft from Leyda)

1: Folder 14

Fields, Mr. & Mrs. Joseph, correspondence with Jay Leyda 1950-1954: (8 items)

Leyda wrote to the Fields, members of The National Society of Autograph Collectors, searching for the letters of August Van Schaick, manuscripts from Carroll A. Wilson’s collection, any Melville-Hawthorne letters, and manuscripts relating to Emily Dickinson.

undated                     estimated early Sep-1950   (draft from Leyda on brown paper)


undated                     18-Sep-1950                         (draft from Leyda on yellow paper)


undated                     estimated just after 20-Sep (draft from Leyda on small brown paper)

undated                     estimated late Sep 1950

18-Aug-1954                                                             (from Leyda; draft also attached)

undated                     estimated Aug. 1954 reply (on bottom of Leyda’s prior letter)

1: Folder 15

Gilman, William H., correspondence with Jay Leyda 1953-1954: (4 items)

William Gilman was one of the many prominent Melville scholars of the mid 1900s who studied at Yale University under Stanley T. Williams. Gilman’s doctoral dissertation (1947) explored Melville's early life and Redburn, and was later published by the New York University Press (1951) . Gilman was an English Professor at the University of Rochester, probably at the time of this correspondence . He refers to his work on The Letters of Herman Melville (Yale University Press, 1960), co-edited with Merrell Davis, and his involvement with an edition of the Emerson Journals.





1: Folder 16

Harcourt Brace & Co. (Robert Giroux, Gerry Gross), correspondence with Jay Leyda 1950: (5 items)

Correspondence with Giroux primarily relates to the publication of The Melville Log and includes a contract.* Correspondence with Gross refers to an adaptation of Moby-Dick which Leyda “enjoyed very much.” Letters also make mention of the “upcoming John Huston film, Moby-Dick” (1956), an excerpt that Leyda sent from the George Eliot correspondence, and a movie anthology outline.

undated                     estimated Jan-1950 (draft from Leyda, to Giroux)

16-Jan-1950             (from Giroux)

14-Jun-1950 *                       CONTRACT (from Giroux)

undated                     (to Gross, from Leyda)

08-Apr-1955              (from Gross)

1: Folder 17

Hayford, Harrison M. , correspondence with Jay Leyda 1951-1955: (9 items)

Harrison M. Hayford (1916-2001), “Harry,” was one of the several prominent Melville scholars who studied at Yale University under Professor, Stanley T. Williams. He was also a Hawthorne, Emerson, and Poe scholar . He helped found The Melville Society in 1945 and was the General Editor of “The Writings of Herman Melville” published by Northwestern University Press (Evanston, IL) and The Newberry Library (Chicago, IL). Hayford was a Professor of English at Northwestern University. Correspondence is both friendly and professional, covering conversations related to a variety of works. Noted is feedback on The Portable Melville and The Melville Log and references to a visit with Samuel Sukel (of Pittsfield, MA) and his Melville collection. Hayford specifically mentions Sukel’s Melville-Hawthorne letters and Sukel’s theory that “DeWolfe’s book of his seafaring life (1861)” was actually written by Melville. Hayford also specifically notes Sukel’s literary insights into “the Hat” chapter of Moby-Dick and the possibility that a gravestone with a cock on it actually did exist in Pittsfield, MA. and provides anecdotal evidence.




29-Feb-1952*                        (is signed with a typed “hh” and is likely Harrison Hayford)






1: Folder 18

Heflin, Wilson Lumpkin., correspondence with Jay Leyda 19?-1955: (5 items)

Wilson L. Heflin (1913-1985) was a Stephen Crane and Melville scholar, and an English Professor at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, at the time of this correspondence. Heflin was also a founding member of The Melville Society. The letters are both friendly and professional in nature. Of interest may be a note referring to a possible literary prototype for Bartleby found in David Daiches’s, Robert Burns. Many letters refer to Leyda’s feedback and input on Heflin’s Herman Melville’s Whaling Years, originally his 1952 Vanderbuilt University dissertation but which he was trying to publish in book form . The dissertation did not make it into book form until after Heflin’s death (edited by Mary K. Bercaw Edwards and Thomas F. Heffernan, 2004).






1: Folder 19

Howard, Leon, correspondence with Jay Leyda 1951-1952: (2 items)

Leon Howard (1903-1982), Melville scholar and English Professor at The University of California. Letters are mainly personal in nature.


22-Dec-1952             (photocopy; original in Box 1: Folder 7: the Berkshire Athenaeum)

1: Folder 20

James, Cyril Lionel Robert (C.L.R) correspondence with Jay Leyda 1952-1953 estimated: (3 items)

C.L.R. James (1901–1989),a native Trinidadian, was a political philosopher, historian, and essayist. During the time of this correspondence, James was living in the United States after several years abroad in Europe. He was studying American civilization and the interplay between the creative individual and expression and government, a subset of his common theme, often described as the struggle between “socialism and barbarism.” Letters relate to James’s book, Mariners, Renegades and Castaways (1953), a political interpretation of Moby-Dick, and a 1952 CBS radio show “Invitation to Learning” regarding The Holinshed Chronicles , which James was scheduled to discuss with Louis Hacker. See also Box 1: Folder 28, Morewood, Helen.

15-Oct-1952              (Third party: Saul Blackman to Jay Leyda)

undated                     estimated 1953?

undated                     estimated 1953?  (draft from Leyda)

1: Folder 21

Kaplan, Sidney and Cora, correspondence with Jay Leyda 1952-1955: (11 items)

Sidney Kaplan was an English Professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a scholar of Melville, Poe, and Black American history and culture. Letters are both professional and personal in nature . Includes questions from Kaplan regarding his research on Melville’s Benito Cereno and feedback related to Leyda’s work on Emily Dickinson.






03-Jun-unknown year                    estimated 1955(reference to son, born in 1952, as a toddler)

02-Jan-1956                         (note from Cora, daughter)





1: Folder 22

Kazin, Alfred, correspondence with Jay Leyda 1952: (6 items)

Alfred Kazin (1915-1998) was a famous autobiographer and well known for three volumes of memoirs, A Walk in the City. Leyda lived in Kazin’s Brooklyn apartment while Kazin was away in Europe at the time of this correspondence . Letters are both friendly and professional.




18-Jun-unknown year                    estimated 1952



1: Folder 23

Kirschner, Leon, correspondence with Jay Leyda, dates unknown: (3 items)

Leon Kirschner (1919–2009) was an American composer, pianist, conductor, and Harvard lecturer. Letters refer to Leyda’s proposal for the opera, “Bartleby.”

16-Oct-unknown year                     estimated 1953 or 1954

Undated                                 (draft from Leyda)

Undated                                 (draft from Leyda)

1: Folder 24

Kirstein, Lincoln Edward, correspondence with Jay Leyda 1951: (3 items)

Lincoln Edward Kirstein (1907-1996) was a Harvard graduate and founder of the literary magazine, Hound and Horn in 1927 . More notably, he was a co-founder of The Museum of Modern Art (1929) and The New York City Ballet (1948). Interested in almost all aspects of American art, literature, and culture, Kirstein authored over 500 works during his lifetime.

Correspondence alludes to Kirstein’s research on “Mr. Rimmer,” who may have been the inspiration for the character, Professor Bhaer in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. Letters are both friendly and professional in nature.

02-Mar-unknown year        estimated 1951 (Catcher in The Rye was first published)


undated                                 estimated after July 2, 1951

1: Folder 25

Lankes, J.J., correspondence with Jay Leyda 1954: (2 items)

Refers to Leyda’s search for information about Melville’s shipmate written about in Typee. Leyda refers to this shipmate as “ R.T. Greene? Or another?” Lankes’s reply cannot confirm the name of the shipmate, only that he was “a man who lived in Western N.Y. not far from his home,” and that the letter revealing such information “appears to have been destroyed.” Lankes provides an address for his brother who could possibly remember the man’s name.

undated                                 estimated 1954 (draft from Leyda)

20-Sep-1954                         (addressed to a third party)

1: Folder 26

Lawrence, Dan H., correspondence with Jay Leyda 1951: (2 items)

Dan Lawrence was a Professor of English at New York University at the time of this correspondence . Lawrence writes Leyda thanking him for information concerning the end papers of The Melville Log. Also refers to Lawrence’s Department Chair, a Mr. Oscar Cargill, who was probably a member of the “Melville-connected Cargill Clan.”



1: Folder 27

Life Magazine (Robin Hinsdale), correspondence with Jay Leyda 1954: (3 items)

Refers to the origins of the Acushnet watercolors featured in The Melville Log.


undated                                 estimated between July 21-30, 1954 (draft from Leyda)


1: Folder 28

Melville Family Members (Isabel LeRoy Brown, niece of Thomas Melville; Halsey DeWolf, distant relative; and Eleanor Melville Metcalf, granddaughter of Melville), correspondence with Jay Leyda, 1947, 1952: (5 items)

undated                     estimated Aug. 1947 (draft from Leyda to Brown)

31-Aug-1947             (Brown to Miss Leyda)

02-Sep-1947             (DeWolf)

13-Nov-1947             (DeWolf)

27-Mar-1952             (Metcalf)

1: Folder 29

Morewood, Helen, correspondence with Jay Leyda 1951-1952: (3 items)

Helen Morewood’s parents were friends of Allan and Herman Melville . In addition to information about Melville’s family, there is a reference to a lecture by C.L.R. James and his upcoming book.




1: Folder 30

Murray, Henry A., correspondence with Jay Leyda 1947, 1952: (3 items)

Henry A. Murray (1893-1988) was a famous American psychologist who spent much of his life writing about Melville. In these letters, he provides feedback to Leyda on the manuscript for The Melville Log and offers praise.

undated                     estimated 1947



1: Folder 31

New York State Library, correspondence with Jay Leyda 1950-1954: (3 items)

Relates to Leyda’s search for issues of the Albany Microscope and the Evening Journal.




1: Folder 32

Pearson, Norman Holmes, correspondence with Jay Leyda 1954-1955: (6 items)

Norman Holmes Pearson was an English Professor at Yale University and a Hawthorne scholar. Correspondence is both personal and professional in nature . Pearson comments about his progress on his work on Hawthorne and a possible reference to James Agee’s funeral. Pearson also makes many offers to employ Leyda and help him with his research.







1: Folder 33

Pierce, Cornelia Marium, correspondence with Jay Leyda 1951: (2 items, 3 correspondences)

Relates to Leyda’s search for more information on the Melville family.


10-Feb-1951             (from Leyda)

13-Feb-1951             (written on Leyda’s letter of Feb. 10th)

1: Folder 34

Providence Public Library (Stuart C. Sherman), correspondence with Jay Leyda 1954: (2 items)

Stuart Sherman was the Associate Librarian of the Providence Public Library at the time of this correspondence. Letters refer to notes Leyda sent Sherman on three whaling logs he discovered in the FDR Library in Hyde Park and a note about Benjamin Rush.



1: Folder 35

Random House, Inc. (Donald Klopfer, Bennet Cerf, & Albert Erskine), correspondence with Jay Leyda 1948-1952: (3 items)

Includes a contract for Leyda’s introduction to The Complete Stories of Herman Melville (Random House, 1949) . Leyda’s letter to Cerf requests removal of his name as the editor of The Selected Writings of Herman Melville (different from The Complete Stories) and explains his stance. Erskine’s letter of Sep. 16th refers to Leyda’s Bronte Project.

09-Feb-1948             * CONTRACT

30-Jun-1951             (from Leyda to Alfred Bennet Cerf)


1:Folder 36

Reeves, John, correspondence with Jay Leyda 1954: (5 items)

John Reeves was possibly a Professor of American Literature near Saratoga Springs, NY. Letters refer to Yaddo, an artist’s community frequented by Leyda and his literary and artistic circle of friends. Mentions a trip to Gansevoort, NY.Also refers to Leyda’s idea for a Melville-Gansvoort exhibition at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs . Some brief mention of Leyda’s involvement with Dickinson and Millicent Todd Bingham.





undated                                 estimated Dec-1954

1: Folder 37

Reynal & Hitchcock (Frank Taylor, Albert Erskine, Eugene Reynal, Chester Kerr) correspondence with Jay Leyda 1946-1948: (21 items)

Correspondence primarily discusses proposals, specimens, arrangements, and timelines for the publication of The Melville Log. In 1948, Curtice Hitchcock died and Eugene Reynal sold the publishing company to Harcourt, Brace and Company, Inc . The Melville Log was published by Harcout, Brace & Company, Inc. in 1951. For clarification, names of correspondents from Reynal & Hitchcock are provided. Included is a newspaper clipping attached to one of the letters.

15-Nov-1945             (from Leyda to Mr. Pistole, stapled to Jan. 8th letter from Frank Taylor)

08-Jan-1946             (from Taylor)

14-Jan-1946             (from Leyda to Taylor)

02-May-1946             (from Erskine)

07-May-1946             (from Leyda to Erskine)

21-Jun-1946             (from Erskine)

26-Jun-1946                         (from Leyda to Erskine)

18-Jul-1946               *Mentions Contract attached but is not enclosed here (from Erskine)

12-Sep-1946             (from Reynal: general letter “To Whom it May Concern” for

Leyda’s use while conducting research)

12-Sep-1946             (Office memo from Rita, a secretary, to Erskine)

12-Sep-1946             (from Reynal to Miss Belle Green, Morgan Library)

17-Sep-1946             (from Belle Green, Morgan Library, to Reynal)

20-Jan-1947             (from Kerr to Yale University Library)

12-May-1947             (from Kerr)

03-Jun-1947             * Newspaper Clipping (from Leyda to Kerr)

04-Jun-1947             (from Kerr)

17-Jun-1947             (from Kerr)

23-Jun-1947             (from Kerr)

27-Jun-1947             (from Kerr to Edward Weeks, The Atlantic Monthly)

05-Jan-1948             (from Thomas Wilson, Harvard University Press, to Reynal)

11-Jun-1948             (from Leyda to Reynal)

1: Folder 38

Roper, Laura Wood, correspondence with Jay Leyda,1952-1953: (2 items)

Laura Wood Roper (1911-2003) was a freelance writer and editor and author of several biographies. She alludes to her work on Frederick Law Olmsted, famed landscape architect and designer of New York’s Central Park. Roper eventually wrote FLO: A Biography of Frederick Law Olmsted (John Hopkins University Press, 1973). Letters also mention the “Curtis-Dix correspondence at Harvard,” which Leyda offered to “go through” for Roper, and Melville’s “Putnam period” probably in reference to Melville’s relationship with George Palmer Putnam and Putnam’s Monthly in which many of his short stories were serialized.  See also Box 4: Folder 5: Hooker, Helene for a brief mention of the Ropers.



1: Folder 39

Rolfe, Edwin and Mary, correspondence with Jay Leyda 1951-1952: (4 letters, 5 items)

Born Solomon Fishman to Russian Jewish Immigrants, Edwin Rolfe (1909 – 1954) was a poet, journalist, and veteran of the Spanish Civil War . Rolfe was an intermittent member of The Communist party, and was blacklisted in 1947 by The House UnAmerican Activities Committee (HUAC). He spent the latter part of his years writing fervently against McCarthyism . He is most well known for his book of poems, First Love (1951). His wife was Mary Wolfe Rolfe. Letters are personal and professional in nature. Many refer to Rolfe’s First Love and other publications. There is also mention of “the Chaplin poem,” about which Leyda must have written to the Rolfes, asking if a friend could use it. There is a reference to The Portable Melville and a question as to whether Melville had ever read Diderot or Bougainville.


12-Nov-1951             (envelope only)

07-Feb-no year         estimated 1952 or after       (from Mary)



1: Folder 40

Rupert Hart-Davis Limited (David Garnett), correspondence with Jay Leyda 1947: (3 items)

Refers to a search for a “Mrs. [Una] Stephen Borrow.” Offers to publish any of Leyda’s book(s) on Melville, and discusses “Mocha-Dick” and its author, Jeremiah N. Reynolds. Includes brief mentions of The Musorgsky Reader and its English counterpart, Mussorgsky – A Self-Portrait in Documents, and To the Actor, a translation of Michael Chekhov’s acting manual.


30-Jun-1947             (from Leyda)


3: Folder 41

Savannah Public Library (Elizabeth Hodge), correspondence with Jay Leyda 1950-1951: (2 items)

Letters refer to Leyda’s search for information on Rachel Turner and Charles Pond.  Elizabeth Hodge, the Reference Librarian at that time, shares information she discovered about a Mrs. Williamina Barrington Turner.



1: Folder 42

Sealts, Merton M., Jr, correspondence with Jay Leyda 1951-1952: (5 items)

Merton M. Sealts, Jr. (1915 - 2000) was one of the many prominent Melville scholars of the mid 1900s who studied at Yale University under Stanley T. Williams . Also a Ralph Waldo Emerson scholar, Sealts was an Associate Professor at Lawrence College in Appleton, Wisconsin, at the time of this correspondence.Letters refer to Sealts’s work on Melville's Reading: A Check-List of Books Owned and Borrowed (University of Wisconsin Press, 1966) and include very specific questions to Leyda about Melville . Includes much discussion about Melville and references to The Melville Log.






1: Folder 43

Small, Miriam R., correspondence with Jay Leyda 1954: (2 items)

Refers to Small’s inquiry regarding Oliver Wendell Holmes.



1: Folder 44

Smith, Henry Nash, and William M. Gibson, correspondence with Jay Leyda 1954: (2 items)

Henry Nash Smith (1906 – 1986) was a Mark Twain scholar and Professor of English at The University of California at the time of this correspondence. Smith and William Gibson of New York University were collaborating on an edition of the correspondence between Mark Twain and William Dean Howells. Letters refer to their work on this project.

12-Jul-1954               (from Smith)

20-Jul-1954               (from Gibson)

1: Folder 45

Society of the Colonial Wars (Larry P. Lauren), correspondence with Jay Leyda, dates unknown: (3 items)

Responses to questions Leyda had on the original colonies and refers to a manuscript.




1: Folder 46

Stauffacher, Jack Werner (The Greenwood Press), correspondence with Jay Leyda 1951: (3 items).

Jack Werner Stauffacher was the proprietor and printer of The Greenwood Press at the time of this correspondence . Letters relate to proposals for collaboration on new works.

undated                     estimated Jan or Feb 1951 (draft from Leyda)



1: Folder 47

Stavig, Richard, correspondence with Jay Leyda 1953: (4 items)

Richard Stavig was a Ph.D. student at Princeton completing a dissertation on Billy Budd at the time of this correspondence. Stavig inquires about references made to Billy Budd and the Somers case in The Portable Melville. Stavig also shares his find of Melville’s copy of Thompson’s A Voice from the Nile in The Princeton Library.


undated                     estimated Jan-1953 (draft from Leyda; 2 pages - also on bottom is a

partial draft to an unidentified “Mr. P”)



1: Folder 48

Sukel, Samuel, correspondence with Jay Leyda 1954: (3 items)

Samuel Sukel, from Pittsfield, MA, refers to “The James DeWolf papers at the Baker Library” “as a total loss” to a “Melville digger.” Also references Leyda’s correspondence with Newman from The Berkshire Athenaeum about a proposed Melville room and a possible donation of Henry A. Murray’s Melville collection to said room. Also noted is Sukel’s feedback on A Reminiscence of Berkshire as a possible Melville manuscript and a suggestion to review an anonymous manuscript in the New York Public Library that he believes could have been written by Melville. Also comments on Melville works written by Vincent and Thompson. Incidentally, 44 engravings that belonged to the Melville family and formerly owned by Sukel were donated to the Melville Society Archive by William Reese.




1: Folder 49

Williams, Gordon R., correspondence with Jay Leyda 1955: (2 items)

Gordon Williams was a co-chairman of the 13th Western Books Exhibition 1953 of the Rounce & Coffin Club of the UCLA Library at the time of this correspondence and possibly an employee of Brentano’s (the bookstore) of California . Also refers to Leyda’s niece, Megan . Williams was possibly Leyda’s brother-in-law? Letters refer to Leyda’s work with Bertensson on Rachmaninoff and the opera “Bartleby”, as well as brief references to Emily Dickinson and Sergei Eisenstein. Includes a philosophical discussion of the “function” of an artist, in response to a comment made by Leyda on the nature of his work on the opera “Bartleby”.


partial, undated                    (missing postcard)

1: Folder 50

Viking Press, The, correspondence with Jay Leyda 1950-1952: (2 items)

Contains the agreements and payments for the publication of The Portable Melville (1952).

02-May-1950             * CONTRACT


1: Folder 51

Vincent, Howard Paton, correspondence with Jay Leyda 1953: (1 item)

Howard P. Vincent (1904 – 1985) was an English Professor at The Illinois Institute of Technology at the time of this correspondence. He was a Herman Melville and Honore Daumier (1808-1879) scholar, known for his edition of Moby-Dick, Or The Whale, co edited with Luther Mansfield (Hendricks House, 1952). He also produced Daumier and his World (Northwestern University Press, 1968), the first biography of the French artist, Daumier, written in the English language. Letter refers to possible collaboration between Leyda and Mentor Williams and Vincent’s own research on Daumier . Also mentions sitting in on a seminar with Harrison Hayford and a discussion about Pierre.


1: Folder 52

Williams, Mentor L., correspondence with Jay Leyda 1951: (1 item)

Mentor L. Williams was primarily a scholar of Henry Rowe Schoolcraft (1793–1864), an American geologist and ethnologist who studied early Native American culture. Williams was a Professor at Illinois Institute of Technology at the time of this correspondence. Mentions Dr. Addison Gulick’s papers pertaining to Melville and his own work on the “Melville–missionary problem.”


1: Folder 53

Wilson, Carroll Atwood, correspondence with Jay Leyda 1947: (1 item)

Carroll A. Wilson was a collector of nineteenth-century English and American Literature. He was a member of the Williams College, MA, class of 1907. Correspondence relates to arrangements to meet with Leyda. Wilson writes “I will bring my Melville catalogue home from the office.”


Chronological Correspondence

1: Folder 54

Incoming, undated, correspondence with Jay Leyda: (10 items)

Senders: unknown,“F,” “EE,” J.N. Moody, Jake, John M. Connole (New York Times Book Review), “D,” Stuart Seidel Jr., [Lawina?] P. [Taurer?],  [Rolf?]

1: Folder 55

Incoming 1946-1947, correspondence with Jay Leyda: (3 items)

Senders: Mrs. Ernst Heyl, Gladys Burch, Margot Johnson (A. and S. Lyons, Inc.).

1: Folder 56

Incoming 1948-1949, correspondence with Jay Leyda: (2 items)

Senders: Mrs. Charles Ives, Lester G. Wells (Seymour Library, Auburn, NY).

1: Folder 57

Incoming 1950-1951, correspondence with Jay Leyda: (7 items)

Senders: Abraham Bornstein (Boston Book and Art Shop, Inc.), E. Byrne Hackett, Ruth L. Connell, unknown, Sarah R. Bartlett (Concord Free Library) draft from Leyda to Mr. Pratt on back, F.B. Adams, Jr. (The New Colophon), Mrs. Carol Van Buren Wight.

1: Folder 58

Incoming 1953, correspondence with Jay Leyda: (2 items)

Senders: Irene M. Poirier (Lenox Library Association), Edith B. Jackson.

1: Folder 59

Incoming 1954-1955, correspondence with Jay Leyda: (8 items)

Senders: A.B.C. Whipple (LIFE Magazine), John [D] (Wittenberg College), Alexander Klein,Ruth Davenport, Roger W. Barrett, unknown, * Mrs. Ethel Walsh (The Town Hall Club, Inc.), Leo Marx.

* On back of the letter from Walsh, dated 09-Dec-1954, Leyda copied down portions of two different reviews of the 1954 opera Bartleby, by William Flanagan, as appeared in the New York Times and the New York Herald Tribune, both published in the May 11, 1954, editions.

1: Folder 60

Outgoing, undated, drafts by Jay Leyda: (7 items, 9 letters)

undated                     (to “Miss Bailey,” possibly Margaret Bailey)

undated                     (to “Mr. Butterfield,” possibly Lyman Butterfield – see Box 3: Folder 16) undated                      (to “Mr. Pratt”)

undated                     (to “Mr. Roseberry”)

undated                     (to “Dr. Stroven,” likely Carl Stroven, Univ. of Hawaii at Manoa Library) undated                 (to “Mr. T”)

undated photocopy (to “Prof. Tinker,” possibly Chauncey Brewster Tinker ; “Willard,” likely Willard L. Thorp; and “Mr. Williams,” possibly Stanley T. Williams).

See also:

Box 2: Folder 4: Citizen’s Film Ltd, brief mention of Melville.

Box 3: Folder 12: Library of Congress, brief mention of Melville.

Box 3: Folder 28: Williams, Stanley T., brief mention of Melville

Box 3: Folder 22: Ward, Theodora Van Wagenen., brief mentions of Melville in selected letters: 17-Jul-195; 26-Aug-1954

Box 4: Folder 5: Hooker, Helene,brief mention of Melville.

Box 4: Folder 8: Smith, Robert J., on back of letters are original pieces of outgoing drafts from Leyda to Professor Tinker, Professor Willard L. Thorp (1899-1992), and possibly Professor Stanley T. Williams.



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Melville Society Facebook Posts

Greg Lennes Melville's short story, "The Lightning-Rod Man" (1854) still has lessons for us today. The lightning-rod salesman says that to buy his lighting rods, you will be safe. He is the salesman of our fears. He peddled his wares during storms with dire descriptions of ruin and death. He threatens and tries to bully the main character, who is angered. The ending is the main character "seized it (lightning-rod); I snapped it; I dashed it; I trod it; and dragging the dark lightning-king out of my door, flung his elbowed, copper sceptre after him. But spite of my treatment, and spite of my dissuasive talk of him to my neighbors, the Lightning-rod man still dwells in the land; still travels in storm-time, and drives a brave trade with the fears of man." Here is a video of a reading of the tale by Stacy Carson. It was produced by Sharad Patel and Lily Cox­‐Richard (2015):
"The Lightning-­Rod Man" by Herman Melville, 1854 "The Lightning-­Rod Man" by Herman Melville, 1854 Read by Stacy Carson Produced by Sharad Patel and Lily Cox­‐Richard
Greg Lennes
Diane Samuels: The Whale and Other Texts Diane Samuels: The Whale and Other Texts Diane Samuels: The Whale and Other Texts
Feb 7 - March 15, 2018
RECEPTION: Thursday, March 8, 6:00 - 9:00 pm; Artist Talk 7:30 pm

Exhibition at UMass Dartmouth University Art Gallery in Downtown New Bedford, “Diane Samuels: The Whale and Other Texts” is centered around the 8’ wide by 47’ long artwork Moby-Dick, or The Whale. This mesmerizing large scale piece appears to be floating on the gallery floor and spilling off the wall, reflecting on the ocean nearby, the location for the Melville’s famous novel.
Pittsburgh based Diane Samuels who often uses text as a element in her visual vocabulary this time creates waves with her meticulous hand-transcriptions created using all of the 701 pages in the novel. Remnants of archival paper and drawings have been recycled and painted over and, in places, drawn and collaged using images that pertain to the specific text. Each page of the book (also exhibited at the gallery) is hand-written as a horizontal row of the drawing, starting with “Call me Ishmael” at the top of the artwork.

Samuels chose Moby-Dick, or The Whale because of Melville’s descriptions of confrontations with “the other” and his archiving and cataloguing of information about whales and the world. In Chapter Three, Ishmael and Queequeg share a room and a bed at the Spouter-Inn. Ishmael describes his terror in meeting Queequeg. Despite cultural, racial, and language differences, the chapter ends with Ishmael’s statement, “I turned in, and never slept better in my life.”

Accompanying this installation is the compressed sound of the artist reading out loud and hand-transcribing each page, creating a layered “audio block”; a dense sound comprised of words and pages, along with the ambient sounds of the artist’s studio. The audio block is the length of the longest page of the book.

Other artworks also surprise visitors with their intricate hand-transcription in microscript. The Arabian Nights traces the stories told by Scheherazade over 10,000 fragments of papers painted in shades of indigo and crimson and edged in gold. The piece is a literal and figurative “magic carpet” whose central panel is bathed in the blood of the book’s unfortunate heroines and cloaked in the mysterious glow of night.
Salman Rushdie’s “Midnight’s Children,” also visually reflects the content of the book, creating a unique composition made from 1001 pieces of paper made in India and joined to form a map of India on August 15, 1947, its date of independence. The “midnight’s children” of the book’s title are the 1001 children born in the first hour of Indian independence.

The exhibition is open through March 15, 2018, with the reception on Thursday, March 8, 6:00 - 9:00 pm. The artist talk, as well as audio recording will begin at 7:30 pm.
The Whale and Other Text was curated by Viera Levitt, UMass Dartmouth Gallery Director, born in Slovakia, where she had assisted Diane in her 1998 sound based site-specific installation for the Synagogue - Centre for Contemporary Art in Trnava.

Thanks to Kris Nuzzi and the Pavel Zoubok Gallery for their wonderful collaboration on this exhibition.

Diane Samuels is a visual artist, with studio and public art practices based in Pittsburgh. In both she uses other peoples’ words and handwriting as her literal and figurative raw material. She builds works that accrete from community engagements, layer by layer: layers made of words from interviews and informal conversations with people on the street, in cafes, in their homes; layers made of places from castings, drawings, photographs, audio, maps; and layers made from archival documents, narratives of events, histories, memoirs, folk tales, and literature. She has made drawings by writing out the texts of entire novels in micro-handwriting, converted a two-story glass pedestrian bridge into an anthology of phrases about looking at the world closely, and created artist’s books from sessions transcribing storytellers.
Diane's permanent site-specific artworks include Luminous Manuscript (Center for Jewish History New York) and Lines of Sight (Brown University). Luminous Manuscript was awarded an IFRAA/Faith & Form Award for Religious Art and Architecture in 2005 and is included in Judith Dupré’s 2007 (Random House) book, Monuments: America’s History in Art and Memory.
Her exhibitions include the Andy Warhol Museum, the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Mattress Factory Museum, the Leo Baeck Institute, the Center for Book Arts, the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, the Contemporary Arts Center of Cincinnati, the Municipal Museum of Art (Gyor, Hungary), the Synagogue Center (Trnava, Slovakia), the Bernheimer Realschule (Buttenhausen, Germany), and the Czech Museum of Fine Arts.
Diane's work is in public and private collections including the Carnegie Museum of Art, Bank of New York Mellon, Reed College, Municipal Museum of Art (Gyor, Hungary), the Ruth and Marvin Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry.
Samuels holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in fine arts from Carnegie Mellon University, a diploma from the Institute in Arts Administration at Harvard University and has received honorary doctorates from Seton Hill University and Chatham University. She is also co-founder of City of Asylum Pittsburgh, which provides sanctuary to writers in exile. Samuels is a former board member of the Carnegie Museum of Art and the National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education, and is a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania. In 2013 she was recipient of a Rockefeller Bellagio Residency in Italy and an American Academy in Jerusalem Fellowship.
Diane Samuels works with the Pavel Zoubok Gallery in New York City.

Image: Moby Dick, Or The Whale, Herman Melville, 2015
Ink on handmade paper, 96 x 564 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Pavel Zoubok Gallery. Photo by Thomas Little

University Art Gallery
College of Visual and Performing Arts
UMass Dartmouth, 715 Purchase Street, New Bedford, MA 02740
Contact: Viera Levitt, Gallery Director and Exhibition Curator,
Gallery Hours: 9 am - 6 pm daily, closed on major holidays.
Open until 9 pm during AHA! Nights (the second Thursday of every month).
Greg Lennes Kimble Bromley, Professor of Art at North Dakota State University, will exhibit his Moby-Dick painting series at the Muscatine Art Center (Iowa) from February 15th through April 12th, 2018. 2018-02-19T15:41:59+0000
Greg Lennes From Rhode Island Public Radio: "One Square Mile: Walk A Mile In Ishmael's New Bedford" by John Bender:
One Square Mile: Walk A Mile In Ishmael's New Bedford New Bedford is the destination for devotees of one famous literary leviathan -- Herman Melville's "Moby-Dick."
Greg Lennes From Aeon: Melville and Financial World by Matt Seybold.
Herman Melville "Confidence is the indispensable basis of all sorts of business transactions. Without it, commerce between man and man, as between country and country, would, like a watch, run down and stop."
—from "The Confidence-Man" by Herman Melville

via Aeon
Meredith Farmer We're happy to announce the first CFP for our MLA panels at MLA 2019! CFP: READING THE CONFIDENCE-MAN TODAY What types of interpretations come up when someone reads the The Confidence-Man in light of recent events? Presenters should offer short, reflective pieces (8 minutes) that provoke discussion. Although a lack of faith (or confidence) in political institutions is a major part of news reports today, presenters may focus on any of the topics brought up in Melville’s book, including stocks and finance, religious organizations, charity, racial identity, belief, and other considerations. Other approaches could include reflections on reading historically or the dynamics of re-reading today. Please send 250-word abstracts and brief bios to Rodrigo Lazo at by March 13.
Greg Lennes Melvillean Philosophy (Humor): "There are unknown worlds of knowledge in brutes; and whenever you mark a horse, or a dog, with a peculiarly mild, calm, deep-seated eye, be sure he is an Aristotle or a Kant, tranquilly speculating upon the mysteries in man. No philosophers so thoroughly comprehend us as dogs and horses." Redburn. His First Voyage - Chapter XL. :) 2018-02-16T21:00:37+0000
Robert Sandberg MLA Conference - 2019 - Chicago: The Melville Society's "Call for Papers" is now available on the Melville Society website
The Melville Society - Call for Papers: MLA 2019 - Reading The Confidence-Man Today & Melville’s Quarrel with Modernity A society dedicated to the study and appreciation of the nineteenth-century American author Herman Melville
Greg Lennes "Moby Dick Deckle Edges Spotlight Tour "(March 16th) - Frank Stella Artwork - discussion led by Robert K. Wallace at Pizzuti Collection in Columbus, Ohio:
Moby Dick Deckle Edges Spotlight Tour Join us on March 16 for a spotlight tour with Professor Robert K. Wallace. Robert will discuss the Moby Dick Deckle Edges prints in the context of other works by Stella on view in the Lines/Edges: Frank Stella On Paper exhibition.
Eileen Valentino Flaxman When I joined The Melville Society FB page last August, you were just breaking a thousand followers. And now you're about to break 2,000. Congratulations! Here is my latest contribution from my project to write a poem for every chapter in Moby-Dick. (Lines from the text are in quotations.) Chapter 59 - Squid. -- Plenty of action and violence takes place in this novel. But there are also days of calm . . . floating on a glassy sea without swells or even the promise of a leviathan and with no chatter from a listless crew . . . A 'profound hush' surrounds the Pequod as it drifts in the middle of nowhere, with 'a stillness almost preternatural spread over the sea'. At such a time, what goes on inside a sailor's mind? Thoughts of home? Other ways to earn a living? Ennui? As a man looks out over endless nothingness, do thoughts churn busily inside his skull . . . or is Ismael an Anomaly?
Meredith Farmer We're happy to announce the second CFP for our MLA panels at MLA 2019! CFP: MELVILLE'S QUARREL WITH MODERNITY In anticipation of an energized year in Melville studies (when on the 200th anniversary of his birth we consider Melville’s significance in the present moment) contributors to this panel will reflect on a vital but largely unexplored feature of Melville’s thinking: his quarrel with modernity. Melville is not recognized for the clarity of his philosophical arguments. At best, his philosophizing is dismissed as ingenious but muddled. But perhaps Melville’s philosophical arguments have been hard to grasp because they have been miscategorized; they have been taken to embody the ethos of the distinctively modern world (that is, after the defining work of Descartes and Locke) when in fact what they offer is nothing less than a wide-ranging rejection of modernity’s dominant assumptions. On this panel, accordingly, we will use Melville’s writing to turn a harsh light on some of the beliefs that characterize modern Western thought. Melville’s writing has meant many things to many people, but as yet it has not been seen as a way to unite or bring into conversation the growing number of theorists resisting the modernity narrative—theorists making an effort to knock down the edifice of dualism, think carefully about where the nature-culture binary has come from (and what we might imagine in its place), cast doubt on the view that the body is inessential to mind, and in other ways question the account of the world offered by the moderns. Please send 300-500 words and a vita to K.L. Evans at by March 19.
Chad Beck Moby-Dick is discussed at 39:00. Also relevant (and leading directly into M-D) is a discussion about Job (31:23).
Russell Brand & Jordan Peterson - Kindness VS Power | Under The Skin #46 Recently making the headlines after a combative interview about the gender pay gap with Channel 4’s Cathy Newman, my guest today is Jordan Peterson, who disc...
Greg Lennes Melvillean Humor for Valentine's Day - Melville's First Draft of Moby-Dick: Comic strip by Mikey Heller (2014) :) 2018-02-14T17:59:34+0000
Greg Lennes Moby-Dick stars on Antiques Roadshow on PBS TV (2/12/18) video - Appraisal of Moby-Dick edition illustrated by Rockwell Kent and published by Lakeside Press 1930.
Appraisal: 1930 Rockwell Kent-Illustrated "Moby Dick" Set | Antiques Roadshow | PBS Appraisal: 1930 Rockwell Kent-Illustrated "Moby Dick" Set in New Orleans, LA.
Greg Lennes The final volume of the Northwestern-Newberry THE WRITINGS OF HERMAN MELVILLE--LAST OF 15 VOLUMES in hardback - a major literary accomplishment. 2018-02-14T14:20:22+0000
Greg Lennes REMINDER: March 1st deadline for registration for the two-week program called “Teaching Melville” that will take place this summer in New Bedford. The Whaling Museum will host the event which will take place from June 17th through the 30th. Go to website for details.
Teaching Melville An Institute for School Teachers on Herman Melville’s "Moby-Dick" and the World of Whaling in the Digital Age
Karen Lentz Madison Melvilleans!
Robert Sandberg A Call for Book Proposals: From Richard King of the University Press of New England The University Press of New England and the Williams College-Mystic Seaport Maritime Studies Program seek book proposals for our “Seafaring America” series. We are looking for works in three categories: 1. Suggestions for timely reissues of forgotten, out-of-print American works of literary and cultural distinction, with new introductions that frame the work for a modern audience. 2. Proposals for anthologies and/or selected editions of writers’ work. 3. Proposals for books of original scholarship or of general interest, according to the series mission below. We have particular interest in underrepresented voices and “blue” environmental studies. _______________________ “Seafaring America” is a series of original and classic works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama exploring the history of America’s engagement with our oceans and coastlines. Spanning diverse eras, populations, and geographical settings, the series strives to introduce, revive, and aggregate a wide range of exemplary and/or seminal stories about our American maritime heritage. This includes the accounts of First Peoples, explorers, voluntary and forced immigrants, women in maritime communities, fishermen, whalers, captains, common sailors, members of the navy and coast guard, marine biologists and oceanographers, and the crews of vessels ranging from lifeboats, riverboats, and tugboats to recreational yachts. “Seafaring America” introduces new stories of maritime interest and reprints books that have fallen out of circulation and deserve reappraisal. The series also publishes selections from well-known works that warrant reconsideration because of the lessons they offer about our relationship with our watery planet.
UPNE | Seafaring America Series Editor: Richard J. King, Williams College-Mystic SeaportSeafaring America is a series of original and classic works of nonfiction, fiction, poetry, and drama exploring the history of America’s engagement with our oceans and coastlines. Spanning diverse eras, perspectives, and geographical s...
Greg Lennes To the wealthy Melvillean: Auction for a first edition of Moby-Dick ending March 7th. 2018-02-13T19:36:41+0000


Fellowships and Scholarships

Melville Society Archive
Walter E. Bezanson Fellowship
The Melville Society, under the auspices of the Melville Society Cultural Project in New Bedford, offers an annual fellowship to help a scholar undertake research on Herman Melville at the Society’s Archive in the Research Library of the Whaling Museum in New Bedford, Massachusetts.


Click here for more information and application details.


New York Public Library
Short-term Research Fellowships


Graduate students or other affiliated academics whose work would benefit from visiting the Manuscripts and Archives Division to view collections such as the Gansevoort-Lansing collection, and Duyckinck family papers are encouraged to apply.


Click here for more information and application details.

From Our Photo Collections

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click to start slideshow

Woodlawn Cemetary

WoodlawnWoodlawn Cemetary - final resting place of Herman, his wife, Elizabeth, and other family members. Click here to view photos of the gravesites.

125th Anniversary Celebration

125th Woodlawn

A celebration of Melville's life at Woodlawn Cemetary on the 125th anniversary of his passing.

Lansingburgh Historical Society

Melville House

Melville lived for nine years in this Lansingburgh house. It was here that he wrote Typee and Omoo

Berkshire Historical Society

ArrowheadMelville's Arrowhead home and farm in Pittsfield, MA where he wrote Moby-Dick and lived for most of the 1850s.